Microsoft Illumiroom uses Kinect, projector to fill room with images

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Microsoft and Samsung demonstrated a new display technology called Illumiroom at the Consumer Electronics Show. True to its name, the Microsoft Research project illuminates a room with lights and images designed to complement what players see on their television while playing a game.

Illumiroom uses a combination of Kinect and a projector to make the magic happen. Microsoft points out that Kinect scans the room’s physical appearance to adapt the visuals in real-time, meaning there aren’t any pre-rendered graphics or templates that have to be used.

What you end up with is flickering lights, particles and an overall ambience that’s supposed to add depth to a game or expand the environment, as Joystiq accurately describes it. A promo video for Illumiroom shows several different usage scenarios that all seem pretty engaging.

Bullets whizzing by, flames engulfing a room and an expanded view of a map were all shown as part of a first-person shooter while snowflakes fell from the sky in a racing game and stars twinkled in the sky in an outer space scene.

Like a lot of the new technology on display at CES, however, it’s still very much a proof of concept at this point. In fact, it wasn’t even shown in real time but rather through a pre-recorded video. Microsoft is planning to show off the technology in its entirety in April, we’re told. What is unclear, however, is Samsung’s involvement in the project and why it was shown during their keynote.

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