Microsoft Research Unveils Immersive Gaming Project

An article I wrote for Electronic Products.

IllumiRoom is designed to blend the virtual and physical worlds

Earlier this year, Microsoft Research unveiled IllumiRoom, which might just be the future of gaming. By adapting the science of 3D mapping to Microsoft’s Kinect sensors to diminish the lines between what’s on screen and what’s real, IllumiRoom combines the virtual and physical worlds.

IllumiRoom
IllumiRoom in action. Image via research.microsoft.com

How IllumiRoom works

IllumiRoom augments the area surrounding your television to really get you into the game you’re playing, or even the movie you’re watching, by combining a Kinect camera and a projector. The Kinect camera captures the appearance of the room, and that data is used to adapt the visuals that are projected against the wall and the objects surrounding your television. So what happens on your screen overflows the television’s boundaries.

Though this immersive experience is beyond extraordinary, Microsoft Research will only say so much about its augmented reality. The company is keeping additional information on IllumiRoom under wraps until the ACM SIGCHI Conference in Paris this April. But to get a glimpse of the mind-blowing technology, take a look at the video below. According to Microsoft Research, the effects in the video are rendered in real time and are captured live.

Outlook

Though information on IllumiRoom, including its cost, is being withheld by Microsoft Research, it’s safe to say that a Kinect motion sensor and a projector setup will most likely cost you. It’s also assumed that there will be a limited customer base, as Kinect users are made up of just a portion of Xbox 360 and Windows PC owners. So, right now it seems that only a small amount of people would invest in the extra cost and installation of a projector to put IllumiRoom to use. But with technology as groundbreaking as IllumiRoom, it looks like we’ll just have to wait and see.

To check out more videos and pictures, and to stay tuned for upcoming information on IllumiRoom, visitĀ research.microsoft.com.

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