Microsoft IllumiRoom Buzz Intensifies
IllumiRoom takes center stage as buzz builds for Microsoft's next game console. Does Redmond have another Kinect on its hands?Microsoft's IllumiRoom technology is gaining renewed attention in the weeks before the company releases details on its next-gen Xbox console. The tech first made its debut at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013). The proof of concept from Microsoft Research showed how the combination of a Kinect sensor, a commodity projector and some software could allow game developers to add visual elements that "bleed" beyond an HDTV's bezels and onto surrounding surfaces in real time. A peripheral, meant to sit atop a coffee table, scans the environment surrounding a TV, performs a self-calibration procedure and then splashes computer-generated visual effects on the area surrounding the main display. The aim, according to Microsoft, is to increase immersion. As an early batch of videos show, IllumiRoom-enabled games can extend the field of view, render reality-warping effects, project star fields and bathe a home theater environment with weather effects like snow. While it is currently in the prototype stage, there are hints that like Kinect, IllumiRoom may evolve past its video-game-centric beginnings and extend into other areas like augmented reality.
In an April 29 post on its Website, the Microsoft Research team revealed that "IllumiRoom: Peripheral Projected Illusions for Interactive Experiences," was one of two papers from the group that earned Best Paper honors at this year's Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The group offered details on its award-winning technology, arguing that IllumiRoom's innovation isn't only pixel-deep.