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The Imaging Chamber is a big chamber in the Project Quantum Leap installations. When someone goes into that chamber, they can see the Leaper and their surroundings in a holographic image, and the Leaper sees them also as a holographic image. Al keeps contact with Sam through this chamber.
The Imaging Chamber is a huge, cavern-like chamber with only one door, which leads to the Control Room. The Imaging Chamber door is opened and closed with the Handlink. There is enough air in the Imaging Chamber to sustain a single person for 6 months. The chamber has a radium accelerator ring surrounding it, which is probably used to send the holographic image of the Observer back in time.
Functioning[edit | edit source]
The Imaging Chamber has two different but complementary functions. The first function is to show a hologram of the Observer to the Leaper, to enable the communication from the Observer to the Leaper. In order to accomplish this, the chamber scans constantly in real-time the Observer inside it, capturing both their image and sounds. Then, the chamber sends a neurological hologram of the Observer through time to the moment the Leaper is in. This hologram is created by a subatomic agitation of carbon quarks tuned to the mesons of the Leaper's optic and otic neurons. That is, only the Leaper can actually sense (see and listen) the hologram that is being sent through time.
The hologram can be set to appear in different spots around the Leaper, including places the Leaper is not looking at, or locations that are beyond the Leaper's viewing range, though the maximum distance from the Leaper that the hologram can appear in has not been stated. There are some other beings that can tune to the hologram and thus sense it, including all animals, small children, the "mentally absent", people near death, people with heightened senses, and people with brainwave patterns similar to the Leaper's. Special machinery can also detect the hologram. The hologram can move around mimicking the movements of the Observer in the Imaging Chamber. It can also be moved in specific ways by commanding Ziggy to do it; these include adjusting the height that the hologram appears at, "jumping" to other spots or near certain people, and moving in synch with some moving object. This hologram will show the Observer and anything in direct contact with their skin: clothes, cigars, the Handlink, etc. People in contact with the Observer's skin will also be shown in this hologram, though only the images, without that person's sounds (though this has been achieved at least once with some modifications to the chamber).
The second function is to show a hologram of the surroundings of the Leaper, and the Leaper himself, to the Observer, to enable communication from the Leaper to the Observer. In order to do this, the chamber has to collect info about the Leaper and their surroundings, including images and sounds, and get them through time to the chamber itself. Once this info is in the chamber, a neurological hologram of the Leaper and their surroundings is created inside the chamber, tuned to the Observer's neurons. That is, only the Observer can see and listen the information being brought back from the past. Any other person entering the chamber would just see a big, empty room.
This hologram can show things in the Leaper's surroundings that are not necessarily near the Leaper, or within their line of sight or earshot. The maximum distance from the Leaper that the hologram can gather and show info from has not been stated. The hologram can stay still in order to allow the Observer to move around it. The hologram can also be moved around the Observer in order to improve his sense of "being" in the past, or to avoid unnecessary movement for the Observer. When commanded, Ziggy can do the following: adjust the height of the hologram's floor relative to the chamber's floor; move the center of the hologram so that the Observer gets faster to a specific spot or person without the need to physically walk there; and move in synch with a moving object, so that the Observer can track it without the need of running next to it.
These two functions have to work together in order to enable a two-way communication between the Observer and the Leaper. Thus, the Observer's and the Leaper's brainwave patterns have to be in-synch and pre-configured into Ziggy so that both holographic projections will work correctly.
The Imaging Chamber also has a lockdown feature in case of a catastrophic collapse of the radium accelerator ring surrounding it. If Ziggy detects this, she will seal the chamber's only door, which will not open until the radiation half-life of the radium ring has expired (which is 1,600 years). There are two cases that can be mistaken by Ziggy with a collapse: a lightning strike hitting the Leaper just as he is leaping, and a nuclear explosion on the same spot as the Leaper. There are two safeguards in order to reopen the door in these cases: an override code that can be punched into the Handlink, and a secret backdoor code that can be given to Ziggy directly, which is only known by Sam Beckett.