The living room might become the living playroom thanks to a Microsoft prototype.
Recently, Microsoft Research has been tinkering with the idea of the living room as a natural extension of the video game experience. At CES 2013 the company debuted Illumiroom, a unique display technology that fills up the living room with images and lights beyond the borders of what’s displayed on the television screen.
Starting today with the project’s rebranding as RoomAlive, Microsoft intends to push the immersive experience of their concept to not just incorporate the background behind the TV, but the living room itself. RoomAlive uses a configuration of multiple Kinect sensors and projectors – as opposed to the single Kinect and projector pairing with Illumiroom 1.0 – to display content across several kind of surfaces, and better yet, can be interacted with.
Microsoft says that RoomAlive can auto-calibrate and find out the 3D geometry of any room in a matter or minutes; Transforming it into a large playroom, where users can touch, shoot at, or even kick objects, such as tiny little creatures or evil robots that where shown in the video demonstration below, that appear walls and floors.
It is pretty darn sweet, even if it’s not near Star Trek “Holodeck” levels of amazing-ness where you can pretend to be Sherlock Holmes, but baby steps, of course. Baby steps.
The tech behind RoomAlive is far away from the consumer stage, and might be that way for a long time. Using the number of projectors that Microsoft does for its demo room is way above what most can afford, but for now it’s an impressive preview of what the future of what the living room can be.
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