"Projects Images Beyond Your TV"
Last year Microsoft filed a patent for a device that projects effects and game footage onto the walls of your play space, which would theoretically increase your field of view and make games more immersive. At which point, we basically told them to 'pull the other one.'
However, it turns out that the concept has been quietly fermenting in Microsoft's R&D skunkworks, leading to them unveiling a proof of concept demo at CES 2013.
And yes, that video is apparently completely legit, without any editing or post-production.
As evidenced by the demo trailer, IllumiRoom acts as a projector that lounge walls into a canvas for real-time game footage, or extensions of in-game effects such as explosions, snow or particles. Think backlit TVs taken to the next level, essentially.
"IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept Microsoft Research project designed to push the boundary of living room immersive entertainment by blending our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualizations," explains the accompanying blurb. "The effects in the video are rendered in real time and are captured live -- not special effects added in post processing."
If the patent application is to be believed, IllumiRoom will use Kinect's 3D depth sensor to work out the player's position relative to the television in order to project appropriate images, and may be compatible with 3D glasses.
Of course, IllumiRoom is still very much a proof of concept rather than a viable product. We'll learn more when Microsoft refines the hardware for a more detailed reveal in April.
Are we one step closer to the gaming holodeck? Or will our lounge walls end up festooned with interactive adverts?