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I can understand how the holodeck creates virtual environments. But I don't see any mechanism that prevents people from walking into walls. Are the floors moving? Are they in a different dimension that has more space? Do they simulate the feeling of movement while keeping you stationary?

Some simulations appear to take up far more physical space than the holodeck would allow (as in people are physically all over the virtually created world - like Voyager's 24/7 running Irish city).

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possible duplicate of How does the holodeck create the illusion of distance? – Richard Feb 16 '14 at 22:08
Rabid guard dogs near the edges? – BigHomie Feb 16 '14 at 23:52

2 Answers 2

From the TNG Technical Manual; TNG Technical Manual

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What happens if two people in the holodeck try to walk away from each other? Will they eventually hit the walls? – Tim S. Feb 16 '14 at 23:42
@TimS. if I remember correctly, that's addressed elsewhere in the same section of the technical manual: the holodeck creates separate sections of the moving forcefield under each person, so that neither one of them truly moves very far, but it also manipulates the propagation of light and sound between them so that they appear to each other to be far away. Maybe someone who has the book handy can confirm. – David Z Feb 17 '14 at 0:55
@AaronKlap: I always assumed that the "treadmill" was more complex than just moving the floor from under you, as that would create noticeable inertial effects but also couldn't create certain other kinds of inertial effects (Like constant acceleration). Presumably the holodeck makes use of a lot of force fields for positioning, holographics to draw even other participants, and artificial gravity to make the movement unnoticable. This way each person only needs to be just out of arm's reach of every other person and their actual positions need not change at all during the entire simulation. – Phoshi Feb 17 '14 at 13:21
@AaronKlap - As much as I hate to give an "out of universe" answer but the reality is that certain aspects of the technology are genuinely nonsensical; sci-fantasy rather than sci-fi. – Richard Feb 18 '14 at 17:16
There's a Voyager episode in which B'Elanna is skydiving in the holodeck. She kills the simulation upon being ordered to the bridge (if I remember correctly) and as the simulation ends, there's a scene where the holodeck visibly alters her perceived velocity along with the effects of gravity. – lunchmeat317 Aug 14 at 6:03

With an omni-directional treadmill! They can already do that today!

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+1. Certainly not Trek canon, but it's a freakin cool technology, and certainly a low tech proxy of whatever a real holodeck would use. – Dacio Feb 17 '14 at 1:56

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