The previously dark room lights up; what was formerly your living room is transformed through light and sound (and who knows! Maybe even scent!) into a battlefield. You pick up your “gun,” holding your hands as if holding the actual prop. The gun on the main screen in front of you responds. Time to find some bad guys.
Quick, on your left! You turn and fire – one enemy goes down. Another on your right! Turn, fire, got him! Behind you! You whirl, but not fast enough – a bit of your health lost on that one, but you got him before he could finish you off.
And of course, you would’ve gotten him faster if you hadn’t hit your shin on your coffee table when you turned around.
Before that last bit, it sounded like something out of Star Trek, right? Holodecks, Holosuites, not a Trekkie among us doesn’t long for that kind of technology. Well, according to a patent recently filed by Microsoft, it appears that the future is on it’s way sooner than we thought.
No, not 24th century starships — this appears to be viable for your average living room. Immersive gaming is advancing by leaps and bounds and coming straight into your living room.
To put it in technical terms, the patent reads as below:
A data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by a logic subsystem is provided. The instructions are configured to output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image.
So essentially we’re looking at a “game box,” a camera, a TV for “main display,” and then the rest of the game projected on the environment around you to fully immerse you in the game.
I don’t know about you, but this step toward holodeck-style technology has me very excited. I can’t wait to see where Microsoft takes this in the coming years, and what form it takes when it finally becomes available to the public. I must admit, I have one very specific dream, though, and while it might not become a reality, I can’t help imagining it. Immersive fantasy gaming. Just think of it now…
“Computer? Engage World of Warcraft.”
And the rest will be history.
[via NBC News | image credit: US Patent & Trademark Office]