Microsoft’s RoomAlive project and the future of the IllumiRoom experiment

MicrosoftMicrosoft came out with an interesting project not too long ago called IllumiRoom, which allowed for full-wall, interactive gaming using physical movements. It utilized the Kinect, and tried to take things to the next level. Now, they are showing off the second version of the project, called RoomAlive. It takes the original idea, and bulks it up to something much more.

Rather than just a large projector with interactive gameplay, RoomAlive turns an entire room (about the space of the average sized living room) into a gaming platform. The walls, ceiling and floor all have projected images that allow the user to find items, kill enemies, and interact with the environment using their bodies, and accessories such as a gun.

An avatar is also available, which can be controlled via a standard X-Box controller. It moves around the room, shooting, fighting, and doing everything a normal platform based character could do. But the entire room is the game.

What makes this different from the first is the scope of the projection, and the level of interaction. It offers more choices for gameplay than it did, and gives the users more control.

Using multiple projectors and a Kinect in the setup, along with the actual gaming hardware, it is a complicated setup. Obviously, both projects are more proof of concept efforts than anything that is anywhere close to being patented for consumer use. But it is an interesting step in the right direction, and shows that these game styles are not only possible, but probably thanks to next gen consoles.

I would say this is an exciting look into the future, even if it doesn’t have the intense immersion and realism of virtual reality consoles, like the Oculus Rift. The ides is a solid one, and in theory it wouldn’t be that difficult to turn it into a consumer friendly product. The only issue is that the projectors have to align literally every inch of the chosen room, which is a pretty hard sell.

On the other hand, they claim the actual calibration is automated and very simple. Projection Mapping has an interesting GIF of the process in 12x speed. If they could somehow isolate the processes into a smaller device that doesn’t require such a complex setup, they could really have something a few years of development from now.

Source: The Verge

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