The Enterprise in Virtual Reality

Physics-based orbital simulation of the refit Enterprise in Earth drydock in 1:1 scale with multiple interior rooms utilizing user tracking and speech recognition

(2011 - present) - Author/Lead Developer

Unity, Kinect Speech, Physics, C#, Blender, Audacity, Virtual Reality (CAVE2), Character Modeling/Rigging, Omegalib


Over the past several years, the Enterprise VR project has been my main canvas for exploring 3D modeling and interactive design in virtual reality. Starting as just a side project after learning Blender and Unity from a computer animation class, the initial bridge model was an exploration into seeing where I could take those skills for general video game use.

With the construction of the CAVE2™ Hybrid-Reality Environment at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory, the focus shifted from a standard video game to a accurately 1:1 scale virtual reality model of the bridge and later multiple decks within the Enterprise.

With the exception of Eric “GuitarEC” Clark’s Blender conversion of Dennis Bailey’s refit Enterprise exterior model. All of the interior models were created by me using Blender. Based off of various studio floor plans, in-universe technical manuals, and screencaps from the films, I started creating several interior models and self-improving my modeling techniques as I progressed.

Beyond just a static model, the other major component was designing a fully interactive experience. Turbolift doors reacting to the user’s head position, Kinect v2 speech recognition to interact with multiple parts of the environment from “initializing main energizer” to power on the bridge, red alert, shields up, turbolift direction, and running a series of cinematic sequences based on the films (“Clear all moorings”, “thrusters at station keeping”, “aft thrusters”).


Project Blog (2011 - present)
Main project blog containing the latest developer log updates.

CAVE2 Demos (2012 - present)
The Enterprise has been regularly featured in demos of the CAVE2 Hybrid-Reality at EVL during UIC open houses, Chicago Ideas Week in 2013, and other special events.

UIC/EVL Helps Kick Off NSF’s Holodeck Social Media Campaign (September 19, 2016)
Featured in the National Science Foundation (NSF) social media #holodeck campaign to promote its support of cutting-edge research in virtual reality and immersive environments on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

CAVE2 Feature on WTTW Chicago Tonight (April 23, 2013)
The Enterprise demo was shown around the 5:55 mark as part of a Chicago Tonight feature on EVL’s CAVE2 virtual reality environment.

Step into CAVE2 virtual world (March 5, 2013)
UIC today article on CAVE2 mentioning The Enterprise project.

Arthur Nishimoto’s virtual Enterprise at UIC’s CAVE2 (November 30, 2012)
Article on the virtual Enterprise in CAVE2 by Northwestern University journalism student Mitch Smith.