Google opens sources Liquid Galaxy

Late last year, Google launched Liquid Galaxy, a fun project that demonstrated how awesome the company was by creating an eight-display Google Earth 'holodeck' - and now you can have one of your very own.

Although Liquid Galaxy, which uses a semi-circle of eight high-resolution LCD displays to immerse users in a panoramic Google Earth environment, was only really created as a tech demo to be carted from event to event, Google is sending it out into the big wide world - and it's open source.

The company isn't just releasing the code behind the project, however - it's releasing everything, from the housekeeping scripts for the Ubuntu-based machines that drive the displays to CAD diagrams that explain exactly how to build the custom housing for those eight massive screens.

Jason Holt, who worked on the Liquid Galaxy project during his 20 per cent time at Google, explained that he realises, "not everyone will have the know-how to network computers together and get view synchronisation working," and offers an alternative for those who just don't have the time or the expertise to roll their own Liquid Galaxy: a pre-built option.

In partnership with End Point, Google has launched the Liquid Galaxy rigs as an actual product - but be prepared to dig deep, as it's asking between $72,000 and $80,000 (around £46,000 to £51,000) for a single unit.

As well as Google Earth, Holt explains that Liquid Galaxy can be used to display an immersive environment from other packages. "We’ve had success playing video in sync in our Liquid Galaxies, and even modified a Free Software video game for after-hours fun," he enthused.

The full plans, code, and how-to documents to create your own Liquid Galaxy are available now over on Google's Code page for the project.

If you're not sure if it's worth the effort, here's a little teaser of a Liquid Galaxy in action: