Introducing Microsoft’s IllumiRoom

Posted Monday, January 14th, 2013 10:42 am GMT -4 by 0

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brought a lot of big announcements, especially when it comes to gaming technology. Arguably one of the biggest announcements is Microsoft’s new IllumiRoom, a device that turns your room into a visual effects extravaganza.

The IllumiRoom is set to bring a whole new level of immersion to video games. Using Kinect technology paired with a projector, the device is able to read the dimensions and layout of a room and properly display visual effects from in-game across the walls. Bullet fly off screen, game scenery becomes life-size, and snow falls when exploring a vast frozen environment. Check out the impressive video below:

While you may initially assume that these effects are the product of CGI, Microsoft promises that the footage was recorded in real-time. The official Microsoft Research site for IllumiRoom states:

IllumiRoom uses a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector to blur the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in allowing us to combine our virtual and physical worlds. For example, our system can change the appearance of the room, induce apparent motion, extend the field of view, and enable entirely new game experiences.

Our system uses the appearance and the geometry of the room (captured by Kinect) to adapt the projected visuals in real-time without any need to custom pre-process the graphics. What you see in the videos below has been captured live and is not the result of any special effects added in post production.

This is certainly one of the most exciting gaming devices we’ve seen to date, though as of right now it is still just a prototype. The company is very intent on delivering a final version, but any information as to an expected release date is unavailable. There is a good chance, however, that this technology could be available out-of-the-box with the new Xbox console, and this reveal is just Microsoft’s way of building some hype.

What do you think, ScienceFiction readers? Are you excited for the IllumiRoom?