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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
That sort of makes sense about the "treadmill effect". Perhaps something like that would allow the participants to walk with a different stride, relative to the environment moving around them, so that they never hit the walls? –  BigHomie Feb 16 '14 at 23:56
@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
Aaron, there are plenty of types of force-field in the trek universe. On at least one occasion we see dax walking on top of one. –  Richard Feb 17 '14 at 7:47
Not only that, but it does not explain how multiple levels work in a holographic simulation that does not all reside on the same floor. If the floor you are on is above a floor a person below you is on, then does the physical floor movie with you? Not only that, but if the simulation ended wouldn't you fall to the floor and the person below you be on the "real" floor? If this is not the case, then how is the sensation of walking up stairs accomplished? You could also climb up a tree which would mean you are definitely not on the floor. –  Aaron Klap Feb 17 '14 at 7:52

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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