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Microsoft expands Illumiroom project to become RoomAlive

by Mark Tyson on 6 October 2014, 11:05

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Microsoft has shown off an expanded version of its Illumiroom concept which we first saw over a year ago. Illumiroom used a Kinect sensor and projectors to expand your game screen content to the rest of the wall. This meant that the game visuals weren't bound by the limits of your big-screen TV. It was said to be highly immersive and could give you more visual clues to interacting and navigating the game environment.

Now Microsoft researchers have taken Illumiroom technology much further and renamed the technology as RoomAlive. This immersive new technology doesn't limit itself to the wall in front of which your TV is standing, RoomAlive brings game immersion to the whole room as a more enveloping augmented reality.

A demo video showing off the system says that people in the room can "touch, shoot and dodge augmented content". As such it's much more than an extended screen. We can see RoomAlive users walking around a room interacting and dodging things that they see in the AR environment. In RoomAlive "every square inch of your living room is a pixel, both for display and for input".

With RoomAlive's much bigger room coverage than Illumiroom it consequently requires a lot more hardware to work. Projection-mapping.org says that the RoomAlive system requires six Kinects paired with projectors. RoomAlive tracks the user's head movements to create a parallax effect similar to viewers experience on the Amazon Fire Phone but at a much larger scale.

It's still 'just research' but Microsoft is looking to the future where similar tech can be made smaller and cheaper for end users. The research team are still exploring the system's gaming possibilities.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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I probably would have bought the Illumiroom, but this is going to take far too long to be affordable and looks like it'll have far too many issues without a room designed around it.
I still remember Ambilight fondly but this takes it to a whole new level - the huge hardware requirements are going to limit this to research labs, theme parks and fairly wealthy people though.
Looks amazing but I'm guessing a commercial version is still far off and I highly doubt the average consumer would be able to afford this. It's unfortunate because even without the interactive elements, being able to create a different environment for your rooms seems appealing.
Illumiroom looked promising wish it launched with the Xbox
Illumiroom looked promising wish it launched with the Xbox

The XBox can't do full HD at 60 FPS on a single screen, so if it had to run projectors too, it'd really look bad. Not even a PC twice the price of an XBone can run every game at really high settings on multiple screens, so it'll be a while before a console is released that can do this.