IllumiRoom from Microsoft Research gives ‘immersive gaming’ a whole new meaning

Here’s a killer concept I’d love to have installed in my living room. Courtesy of Microsoft Research comes this enhanced gaming experience that projects images beyond a television set, basically turning your entire living room into a video game. I know this is just a concept, but keep in mind that the popular Kinect motion sensing input device also started out as an idea in Microsoft’s R&D lab.

What you’re seeing in this clip is the real deal – no special effects were added in post processing or anything like that. Microsoft isn’t saying when (or if, for that matter) the IllumiRoom project might get incorporated into a next-gen Xbox with Kinect. For now, it’s just a a proof-of-concept system, but we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having something akin to this implemented on the Xbox console…

From YouTube description:

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. The effects in the video are rendered in real time and are captured live – not special effects added in post processing.

So, how does this thing work?

Long story short, IllumiRoom taps a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to induce apparent motion and extend the field of view. The system uses the appearance and the geometry of the room captured by Kinect and then adapts the projected visuals in real-time, without any need to custom pre-process the graphics.

If you’re itching to learn more, head over to the IllumiRoom project’s official web page.

Microsoft is promising to release more information alongside a paper explaining all the details at the forthcoming ACM CHI 2013, which runs April 27 – May 2 in Paris, France.

The concept is credited to Microsoft Research engineers Brett Jones, Hrvoje Benko, Eyal Ofek and Andy Wilson.

Before the original Xbox, Microsoft had zero credibility in the gaming space.

Nowadays, the Xbox 360 is the hard-core gamers’ console of choice.

Microsoft is also said to be working on an inexpensive Xbox-branded set-top box and a smaller Surface tablet focused on gaming. Interestingly enough, the Windows giant recently acquired home automation startup R2 Studios, another indication of the company’s intentions to position itself as the leading living room entertainment and solutions provider.