From what I understand of the holodeck, sentient beings cannot leave it because they are sentient. If a robotic body (like Data's perhaps) could be manufactured and the program downloaded into this body, would it be possible to transport holographic beings from the holodeck? (Note - I am aware of the mobile emitter, but that is another 5 centuries away from TNG era, which is what I'm talking about).

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    Sentient beings cannot leave the holodeck because their physical form has no substance outside of the holodeck grid.
    – Xantec
    Mar 30, 2014 at 3:05
  • @Xantec But then how does that explain non-sentient things (eg water) that can leave the holodeck? Mar 30, 2014 at 3:07
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    Complex processes are sophisticated simulations, given substance with force fields and holographic projections. Simple matter is actually replicated (like in a replicator).
    – Xantec
    Mar 30, 2014 at 3:10
  • @Xantec - I appreciate that and that this is the reason a sentient begin cannot leave the holodeck as replicators cannot as yet replicate a sentient being. But my question is that if a robotic body was replicated and the program (which is really all a hologram is) was downloaded into it, would this then allow sentient beings to leave the holodeck? Mar 30, 2014 at 3:14
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    What do you mean by "transport" and "sentient"? Are you simply asking whether or not holodeck personalities can be downloaded into robot bodies, or does your question actually pertain to transporters or a perceived mind-body problem relating to the holodeck? Because there are clearly AI-driven robots in Star Trek, and there's no reason to believe that holographic AI has special metaphysical properties that prevent them from being stored outside of a holodeck computer. You could download them into an isolinear chip or a 24th century iPad and take them wherever you want. Mar 30, 2014 at 3:23

2 Answers 2


Thanks to the episode Ship in a Bottle we know that it is possible to remove the program for a sentient computer program from a holodeck and run it in an external processing unit.

The real problem would be that no sophisticated android bodies exist in the Federation, during the time of The Next Generation, outside the seven Soong-type androids. Of those: three are damaged, destroyed or inoperable, two are already occupied and two are unaccounted for.

Therefore, yes, if you could find a suitable body that the program was willing to inhabit (or could be tricked into), then it would be possible to take a sentient program off the holodeck and into the real world.


This actually happens (sort of) in VOY 6x17, Spirit Folk.

One of the residents of the Fair Haven holodeck program is examining the Doctor's mobile emitter, when Tuvok gets a transporter lock and beams it off the holodeck. Instead of getting the Doctor, they get that character.

Granted, it being the mobile emitter, he could have just walked off of the holodeck, if he could find/summon the exit.

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