Nvidia built a real Holodeck, aimed at creative collaboration

Darrell Etherington
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang once told me that one of the things he was most excited about for the future of his company's tech was bringing the Holodeck to life – and now, that's exactly what Nvidia is doing with its new Holodeck photorealistic VR platform for designers and developers.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang once told me that one of the things he was most excited about for the future of his company's tech was bringing the Holodeck to life – and now, that's exactly what Nvidia is doing with its new Holodeck photorealistic VR platform for designers and developers.

Nvidia Holodeck (yes, it's actually called that) in an "intelligent virtual reality platform" created by the GPU maker that offers collaborative virtual environments with simulated real-world physics, highly detailed models built using photorealistic graphics at life-size scale. It's not built to help Captain Picard live out film noir detective fantasies or swashbuckle the seas, however; Nvidia's Holodeck is aimed at helping designers prototype, review and tweak designs to make it possible to bring products to market faster.

Holodeck is also AI-ready, meaning that you can train agents and deploy them in the virtual space to test your designs against anticipated real-world conditions, including virtual operators and incidental personnel and staff who might interact with any machinery or other objects being prototyped before they're built.

Already, Nvidia has won praise from top architects, NASA engineers and cutting edge designers, based on their experience with pre-release testing. Now, it's opening up to early access for a broader group, with the aim of refining it further.

Collaborative VR design tools are catching on in a big way among automakers, who are increasingly building out initial trials of virtual collaboration in service of vehicle design. There are plenty of other potential applications, too, and Nvidia could be poised to lead this shift given its experience on both the graphics side and in building AI that can enhance the simulated environments in use.