Microsoft Illumiroom uses Kinect, projector to fill room with images

By on January 10, 2013, 8:30 AM

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.




User Comments: 24

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Guest said:

This hurt my eyes watching much less playing tht stupid Kinect.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

A lot of that gameplay looked ungodly laggy. I doubt the current Xbox could handle this.

treeski treeski said:

I think it looks pretty cool. If it can be done with a low powered, inexpensive projector, I'd be game for it.

Guest said:

Very distracting....!!!

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I think the idea sounds really cool.

Arris Arris said:

Or you could just use the projector to have a much bigger environment without a TV in the middle of it? I feel MS are trying a bit too hard to make the Kinect seem like a futuristic swiss army knife...

treeski treeski said:

Or you could just use the projector to have a much bigger environment without a TV in the middle of it? I feel MS are trying a bit too hard to make the Kinect seem like a futuristic swiss army knife...

Most people don't have giant blank walls to make use of a projector like that. Plus, a high res, good projector is NOT cheap. People already have TVs, they don't want to dish out a ton for a new projector. Depending on how MS achieves this, hopefully it can be done with an inexpensive, low res projector that doesn't suck up too much power.

1 person liked this | Arris Arris said:

Most people don't have giant blank walls to make use of a projector like that. Plus, a high res, good projector is NOT cheap. People already have TVs, they don't want to dish out a ton for a new projector. Depending on how MS achieves this, hopefully it can be done with an inexpensive, low res projector that doesn't suck up too much power.

Abandon the 3D gimmick and move onto the next one

killeriii said:

Cool, I want one!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That's about as annoying as it gets. I'll pass...

MrPromee MrPromee said:

Seems like a living room version of what Disney started doing to the Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld and to The exterior or It's a Small World in Disneyland but in real time. If so, this has the potential to have a huge effect on home entertainment in general and without seeing it in person, it's really difficult to grasp how.

jonjonjon said:

I agree I have a slanted ceiling in my room and multiple corners. its not a huge perfect square. plus this just looks dumb. kinect already failed miserably on the 360 once the jumping/dancing gimmicky games wore off in 30 seconds. ms payed some dev to put some lame voice recognition in games so they could slap a better with kinect label on it. problem is you can do voice recognition with a the free mic that comes with xbox. anyone play end war? ms needs to just admit they jumped on the motion control fad to late when even nintendo was desperately trying to distance itself from the little kid motion control shovel ware garbage. time to ditch the kinect. why waste money putting kinect on the next xbox when that money could be much better spent on a gpu, cpu, memory or something that will actually help with gameplay.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

I agree I have a slanted ceiling in my room and multiple corners. its not a huge perfect square. plus this just looks dumb. kinect already failed miserably on the 360 once the jumping/dancing gimmicky games wore off in 30 seconds. ms payed some dev to put some lame voice recognition in games so they could slap a better with kinect label on it. problem is you can do voice recognition with a the free mic that comes with xbox. anyone play end war? ms needs to just admit they jumped on the motion control fad to late when even nintendo was desperately trying to distance itself from the little kid motion control shovel ware garbage. time to ditch the kinect. why waste money putting kinect on the next xbox when that money could be much better spent on a gpu, cpu, memory or something that will actually help with gameplay.

Kinect failed miserably... LOL

This looks awesome to me. If I still had an xbox, I'd be all over that. Sure, a lot of people don't have their TV aligned on a square wall, but a lot of people don't have big TV's or optimal viewing spaces without windows and blah blah blah... when has it ever been the responsibility of the product designer to make it work in your living room? You rearrange your space when you upgrade your home theater system and need to put in a sub, tower speakers, and satellite speakers... You don't complain to Yamaha for not making their speakers fit in your house.

1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

Or, for better experience - just use a decent projector on the wall.

TypeR181 TypeR181 said:

It might be time to tidy my front room . I have dreamt of the day holorooms became a reality . A good first step

gamoniac said:

This looks awesome. I want the immersive gaming experience. Sign me up!

1 person liked this |
Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

Or, for better experience - just use a decent projector on the wall.

You've missed the point. This gives you a wider peripheral view. Filling an entire wall with a 1920x1080 projector is still 1920x1080.

mevans336 mevans336 said:

This looks very cool. I'd like to see how it would integrate with movies and such as well.

Guest said:

I'm all over this baby!!

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

This looks very cool. I'd like to see how it would integrate with movies and such as well.

I don't think it could. With games, a 3D/360 degree environment has already been rendered, and you are just moving through it. With movies, they would actually have to extrapolate what's in the scene into the wider field of vision, making this a much more complicated product. Some TV's do something like that with LEDs on the back of the set, but they are just displaying ambient colors that match what's on the display, not actual elements from the content.

PinkyTC PinkyTC said:

It's immersing, you can switch it OFF!

PinkyTC PinkyTC said:

It's an amazing concept, in my opinion it will bring the game (media) alive, combined with my 7.1 headphones......I'm there woo hoo

Guest said:

Cool with racing games!

TheKLF99 TheKLF99 said:

Or you could just use the projector to have a much bigger environment without a TV in the middle of it? I feel MS are trying a bit too hard to make the Kinect seem like a futuristic swiss army knife...

Most people don't have giant blank walls to make use of a projector like that. Plus, a high res, good projector is NOT cheap. People already have TVs, they don't want to dish out a ton for a new projector. Depending on how MS achieves this, hopefully it can be done with an inexpensive, low res projector that doesn't suck up too much power.

Optoma PK-301 LED Projetor and a black-out blind - £250 for the projector and £25 for the blackout blind = one massive 6ft wide screen... not too expensive (plus the PK-301 is portable and as small as a phone!)

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