IllumiRoom takes video games beyond the TV


January 11, 2013

IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept from Microsoft Research that aims to bring gaming out of your TV and into your personal space

IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept from Microsoft Research that aims to bring gaming out of your TV and into your personal space

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The way we play video games is forever evolving. Nintendo brought motion control to the masses with the Wii, while the rise of smartphones and tablets has meant the number of casual games (and casual gamers) has grown exponentially over the past few years. What is next on the agenda? The signs all point towards a more immersive experience being the main aim and Microsoft Research is keen to lead the way with IllumiRoom.

IllumiRoom brings the visuals of video games out beyond the boundaries of the television. Using a Kinect for Windows camera and a projector, IllumiRoom is able to bring certain elements of individual games into your living room. The camera scans your personal space to capture the dimensions and geometry involved, which the projector then utilizes for displaying images. These range from a direct extension of the playing area, to the appearance of particular effects such as snowflakes or sparks.

IllumiRoom isn't yet an actual product, but as a proof-of-concept it's clearly related to the "immersive display experience" patent Microsoft applied for in 2011. The patent describes a system which brings a "peripheral image" from the television screen into the room occupied by the gamer. This system looks to be competing with the new breed of virtual reality systems such as the Oculus Rift and Sensics SmartGoggles gaming headsets.

Sony showed off a similar application in 2011 which utilized the PlayStation Move. With both companies expected to unveil their next-generation consoles before the end of this year it's entirely feasible that this kind of "Holodeck" experience will be available to gamers sooner rather than later.

Microsoft showed IllumiRoom off during the Samsung keynote at CES 2013, and further details on the future product are promised at CHI 2013 in Paris at the end of April. In the meantime we'll have to make do with the video embedded below, which shows IllumiRoom working in real-time with images being captured and rendered live.

Source: Microsoft Research via Engadget

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

OMG!!! I would clear out a whole room and leave it black, and nickname it, the holobeck. The live in there. I want this..


Someone tell me again why science fiction is such a waste of peoples time.

Mark Keller

It doesn't appear that they are already doing this, but...

...when they also calibrate colors by...

...1) flashing solid red, green, blue, and a few other colors on the actual display screen, then project each color separately across the full room and rescan the full room each time to create a color matching offset filter, ... ...2) then during game play, each frame is filtered by the computed color matching filter, ...

...the system will be even more immersive as the projected colors extending into the room will better match the colors on the display screen.


The room concept sounds like much more fun than goggles. I can remember the childhood thrill of projecting stars onto my ceiling from a simple home planetarium. Suddenly I had the sensation of being outside, in the middle of a field, with stars all over the sky.


Shut up and take my money!!

Nathan Rees

kalqlate +1

Andrew Kubicki
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