Microsoft’s ‘IllumiRoom’ Aims for Immersion

It’s 2013 and I’m still waiting for that all encompassing gaming experience. As a preteen, I envisioned the ultimate gaming experience having you as the player able to see the action beyond a simple screen. The IllumiRoom, bad name notwithstanding, looks to bring us closer to that dream. Does it show promise or is it just another gimmick?

Microsoft IllumiRoom

This new product was revealed during CES where Microsoft gave their official description.

“IllumiRoom is a proof-of-concept Microsoft Research project designed to push the boundary of living room immersive entertainment by blending our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualizations.”

Using a Kinect and projector, IllumiRoom augments the room you’re in to broaden visuals on screen. As shown in the video, this can result in a more immersive experience that puts more emphasis in a player’s surroundings.

Microsoft IllumiRoom

The concept sounds cool and I’m curious to see where this technology goes. I’m just concerned with how practical the IllumiRoom is going to be in an average household. The visuals being projected beyond the television don’t seem all that clear when you have a living room setup with shelves, drawers, lamps, or anything else that would be around an entertainment center.

Personally, I’d probably prefer to get a big projector screen and use that as a substitute for the TV entirely instead of this. At the least, if one were to use the IllumiRoom, it would require some shifting around the room in order to get the best visual quality.

Microsoft plans to reveal more about the IllumiRoom at the CHI conference in Paris on April 27th.

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