Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain stands next to a 3D hologram during the Reebok launch of their new Smooth Fit technology.

Michael Steele/Getty Images for Reebok

­If you've ever wa­tched "Star Trek," you may remember seeing the crew of the Starship Enterprise live out their fantasies in a room called the holodeck. The holodeck was a giant, holographic projection room that allowed the crew to touch and interact with projections as if they were in a big video game. Scientists today are developing a new communications technology that will allow you and your friends to interact inside a simulated environment even if you are thousands of miles apart. ­

Most of the basic components for this network are already in place to allow the development of tele-immersion. Tele-immersion is the scientific community's answer to the holodeck.

­By combining cameras and Internet telephony, videoconferencing has allowed the real-time exchange of more information than ever without physically bringing each person into one central room. Tele-immersion takes videoconferencing to the next level. It will create a central, simulated environment that will allow everyone to come together in one virtual room, and no one will have to leave their physical location to do so.

­In this article, you'll find out how employees in Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo and Paris will soon meet in a tele-immersive environment and shake hands with holographic images of their co-workers.