What if, while watching TV or playing a video game, your display didn’t stop at the edge of your TV screen but instead expanded to the rest of the room? Visual effects and additional animation would immerse you even more so into the content you’re watching or playing. Microsoft IllumiRoom does just that, with the help of a simple projector and a Kinect sensor working in tandem.
The IllumiRoom can display all sorts of things, including buildings, bullets, explosions and even fire ultimately creating a more immersive entertainment experience. Microsoft is going to change the world of home entertainment as we know it.
The technology first showed up at CES 2013, and we also covered it here at dotTech . More recently, the Microsoft Research team attended the CHI 2013 conference in Paris, where they showed off the IllumiRoom technology in more detail.
The system essentially alters the appearance of the room, with visual samples and effects that match what’s going on in a game or movie. It can be programmed to extend the TV screen, or to display something entirely different. For example, in the video below you can see a player using a flamethrower on screen while flame animations dance across the room and nearby surfaces.
Thanks to the Kinect sensor, the IllumiRoom system can also completely change the appearance of the room and objects within it. It maps the geometry of objects and surfaces, and then showers the room with various colors to alter its appearance. In this way, it can make a room resemble something out of a cartoon, or even adjust everything in the room so that it’s black and white.
This same mapping system, also allows the IllumiRoom to project an exact image of the room and its objects, and then adjust them according to what’s happening on screen. This feature would allow nearby furniture to appear altered by gameplay, like collecting bullet holes or marks of damage. IllumiRoom can also interact with the floor, displaying fallen snow, or objects that would scatter across the ground.
Unfortunately, the IllumiRoom system is just a proof-of-concept at this time which means we probably won’t see it on retail shelves any time soon, if at all. Details of the system arrived close enough to the huge reveal of the next Xbox (May 21) that many thought this new technology would be included in Microsoft’s next game console. The truth is, we don’t know for sure, but realistically this system is probably a long time away from being available to consumers.
Check out the video below to see the IllumiRoom system explained in more detail, along with some visual demonstrations of the technology. And be sure to leave a comment  about what you think about the IllumiRoom.
[via Microsoft Research ]