Food on the Holodeck

Mar 16, 2018

In Star Trek, people eat food on the holodeck. Does the food disappear when they close their mouth? Why do they say it tastes good? Are they just roleplaying? Or does the holodeck special replicate the food like the replicators? If so, then why don't the crew of Voyager just eat on the holodeck, avoiding the need for replicator rations? In the first episode of Voyager, they mention the replicators and the holodeck run off different energy signatures, this why there aren't holodeck rations.

P.S. These are the kind of things I think about when procrastinating.

HanaIndiana Mar 16, 2018
Hmm good question. I would imagine it just disappears. It's not actual matter, but perhaps it still "tricks" tastes buds. Programmers are able to code what food tastes like. That would be amazing! You could probably create flavors that don't exist naturally. And it would do wonders for diets, being able to enjoy all of your favorite foods without the calories.
I don't know... the more I think about it, the more I feel like having holodecks leads to really messed up people. Star Trek didn't do nearly enough episodes about that.

Ron Gilbert Mar 16, 2018
I friend of mine used to say "Holodecks will be the last thing ever invented", and I tend to agree. Star Trek also treated them like video games, but there was so much more to explore.

Alfonso Mar 16, 2018
And then there was this time when the holo-AI became sentient and threatened to destroy the Enterprise...

Big Red Button Mar 16, 2018
If the replicators and the holodeck run off different energy signatures, they can still beam some food from the replicator onto the holodeck, don't they?

Milan Mar 17, 2018
In the very first episode Riker bumps against the wall, this never happens again and they wall long distances. Also they are terrible at preparing for their roles (Picard constantly forgetting that Dixon Hill has to pay for his drinks or spilling more about the future than drunk Doc Brown). Yet I´m having so much fun. I´m at season 5 at the moment.

Carlo Valenti Mar 17, 2018
Holodecks switch to  replicator technology as soon as you eat food. So eating on the holodeck is just like eating replicator food, just in a more energy-expensive environment.
As for TNG pilot, yes, Riker hits the holodeck wall, but please remember that holodeck technology is very soon upgraded in the same season by the Binars, providing also the AI characters we got so much accustomed to during the subsequent seasons and series.

unwesen Mar 17, 2018
As a programmer, I particularly like the TNG episode where one of the officers asks LaForge to help him with programming the holodeck. And then LaForge says something like "computer, combine program A with program B", and it's done.

I always think that's pretty much the non-tech perspective on how software development actually works.

James Purcell Mar 18, 2018
Here's what's always bothered me, Trek's future has pretty much perfected instant teleportation with their transporters. You don't even need a dedicated pad to beam, you just need one to beam too and fro. If this is the case, why do they need any space ships inside a star system? You would still need them for exploration, traveling through extreme distances in interstellar space, and defense probably. But there should be no vehicular traffic in the Earth Federation, except for maybe bulk resources that are impractical to beam.. Just transporter pads everywhere.

Noah Falstein Mar 27, 2018
Nice to see you haven't changed in the important ways, note that this quote covers procrastination equally well:

Soong Apr 24, 2018
As far as I know the "official" idea is that the holodeck replicates food if you consume it as it is technologically related to the replicator.  The reason Voyager does not have holodeck rations is because Voyager had serious writing problems.  It was meant to show scarcity of resources in the Star Trek universe, but they quickly changed that and had unlimited photon torpedoes and holodeck access.  Different energy signatures, pff - energy is energy.