Microsoft’s IllumiRoom project was one of the main attractions at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. Several months later, the Redmond-based company said the technology – which illuminates a wall with a flood of lights and images to create a more immersive gaming experience – was too expensive for a consumer launch.
Microsoft has remained mum on the subject for more than a year which led some to speculate that it had been scrapped. We now know that's not the case as IllumiRoom is back with added features and a brand new name.
IllumiRoom 2.0, or RoomAlive as it’s now being called, uses a series of off-the-shelf projectors and Kinects linked to a small computer to extend the visuals from a single wall to an entire room. The system is said to be completely auto-calibrating and self-locating so it can calculate the 3D geometry of a room within minutes.
Once ready to go, RoomAlive can track multiple players that can interact with the augmented reality world projected around them. As Engadget points out, players can bop enemies whack-a-mole style or physically dodge booby traps. A false move in the latter game will result in a bloody wound being projected onto your body.
RoomAlive is still a proof-of-concept as it remains too cost prohibitive at this point although the potential is certainly there. As technology advances, however, a smaller and cheaper version could have the same sort of potential as the Oculus Rift to shake up the gaming industry.