We’ll probably see more of this at E3, but for now, get a look at this tasty demo.

It’s just a proof-of-concept at the moment, but Microsoft has an interesting gadget for its next generation Xbox: the IllumiRoom projector, a device intended to make you think your TV just got huge. The last time we saw this there was just a brief snippet of information available, but now we can see a whole lot more of Microsoft’s master plan. The intent is to augment the room whenever you display content, which means it can pull off all kinds of tricks, from extending your field of vision to making it seem as if the room and everything in it is vibrating in time with the game action. Want bullets flying through the air, perforating the plants and cat? Not a problem. Snowfall accumulating on the floor? Gotcha covered.

This device is using Kinect’s ability to capture the colors and geometry of the room to augment the projector’s display. It’s supposed to be self calibrating and, theoretically, will work in any room. Moreover Microsoft isn’t about to stop at video games; it has its eye on enhanced movies and television content as well. Even so, gaming is clearly where Microsoft sees initial take-up, as its research paper demonstrates. “The grenade rolls out of the television,” the paper’s motivating scenario imagines, “bounces off your coffee table and explodes in your living room, throwing shrapnel across your bookshelf. The entire living room appears to shake as you take damage from the explosion.” Sounds like a fun Saturday night.

There’s an occasional cloud on the horizon, as the demonstration video admits. Ambient light will cause issues – as it does with all projected images – and there needs to be some compensation for the contents of the room; you won’t necessarily get a clear image off of a cluttered surface. Microsoft’s also considering the possibility that simulator sickness might spoil play – basically, too much of a good thing makes you nauseous – but so far, its test paper claims, the simulator sickness quotient is within normal ranges for other immersive simulation devices.

Microsoft’s taking its IllumiRoom on the road to CHI 2013 and, given its connection to the next-gen Xbox, it seems likely we’ll be seeing it at E3 as well. If you’re at all intrigued by the idea of extending your visual reach beyond the television screen, Microsoft thinks it has what you’re after.

Source: The Verge

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