Microsoft wants to bring your living room to life

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Roomalive

Remember a while back when Microsoft’s mad scientists from their R&D department  first showed off it’s proof-of-concept IllumiRoom? It utilised Kinect and a projector to create a sort of whole room augmented reality experience. Turns out that was just the beginning. It’s still research, but it’s come a long way. This is IllumiRoom 2.0: RoomAlive.

RoomAlive takes the established IllumiRoom concept, but dials it up to eleven by extending the gaming environment to the entire room. Much like Illumiroom, it’s a proof of concept – but it looks rather incredible, giving players an entire, wholly interactive room. Players are able to reach out and touch objects in the digitally textured environment, or control traditional game characters across the entire room’s surface area.

While Virtual Reality is likely the next big thing, it’s a very closed off affair. This maintains the social aspect of videogames. Problem is, is that it’s not in any way feasible. Right now, the system requires 6 Pro-cam projector-depth camera units: essentially an unholy union of  Kinect and a projector – just to track and display everything properly.

RoomAlive’s video projectors and Kinect combination is far too costly and large for living rooms right now – but Microsoft is looking to the future with this R&D.

“There’s still lots to explore with RoomAlive as a gaming platform,” says a spokesperson from Microsoft Research. “We envision a future where games can use physical objects as part of the game.”

It’s a cool concept, but I just don’t see it breaking free from the confines of being a fun R&D project. Check it out.

Last Updated: October 6, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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