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Devotees of the late, great sci-fi series Star Trek: The Next Generation will remember the holodeck, a space-age virtual reality arena that could replicate any kind of environment. While it could be used as a training platform, Enterprise officers most often used the holodeck as a recreational space, immersing themselves in nature.

In an inspired twist on the concept, researchers in Europe have developed a virtual reality environment for freely moving animals that appears to be effective at generating convincing illusions of the natural world for mice, fish, and fruit flies.

Alas for the animals, the VR system isn't designed for the animals' recreational benefit. Instead, researchers hope to use the VR rig as a controlled setting for examining animal perceptions and behavior.

How can we humans be certain that we aren't in one?  To read more, click here.