There were times, in the ‘not-so-distant’ past, when most of us were happy playing games on our black and white TV sets. Then we patted our backs when advanced science and technology presented us with color television. We continued to enjoy our games, now looking vibrant and visually entertaining, on our color televisions. We have played our games on our good old’ television sets, CRT monitors and now to whatever we use to play our games on. Although the games have changed over the years, we never thought gaming technology will ever change. Now the time has come when the boundaries of the virtual and the physical world are, thanks to Microsoft’s IllumiRoom, going to merge and overlap.
The International Consumer Electronics Show, this year around, has thrown up pretty impressive list of gadgets and tech accessories. Although an array of fascinating high-tech products have been displayed, every once in a while, some of these products manage to stand out from the rest. Among these ‘outstanding’ products and ‘hard-to-fathom’ technologies, Microsoft’s IllumiRoom tops the list.
For both technology experts and novices who are climbing the ever-moving ladder of high-tech, keeping track of events like the Consumer Electronics Show figure high on their must-do list. If you belong to either of the two groups but you missed some of the ‘most looked-forward’ product launches and new technologies, here’s a look at Microsoft’s IllumiRoom that made heads turn in its direction.
On January 09th, in Samsung’s keynote, Microsoft unveiled a technology called the ‘IllumiRoom. This new technology makes use of Kinect – Microsoft’s own technology- and a projector. Kinect, used for Windows PCs and Xbox (video) gaming consoles, is a motion sensing device. With the help of Kinect and the projector, images on your TV screen will get projected on to your walls and furniture, beyond your TV, while you continue playing your favorite game. Although you won’t be getting a crystal clear 1080p images projected on your TV room, IllumiRoom serves its intended purpose quite well. Kinect understands the contours and geometry of the room and makes sure that the projected visuals adapt to the physical dynamics of the room in real time. This technology works in real time, it doesn’t need to be pre-programmed or pre-customized with graphics that can adapt to various room dimensions.
The visuals appearing on the TV screen are projected beyond the screen, thereby changing the very appearance and look of your room. Gamers become a part of the game they are playing as their field of view is extended. Microsoft also said that motion is also induced into the projection that adds to the apparent extended game environment.
IllumiRoom blurs the distinguishing lines between the virtual world in your TV and the physical environment around your TV. The overall gaming experience is enhanced, thanks to IllumiRoom. All the out of context images near your TV like the pretty little flower vase or your ‘smiling from ear to ear’ photo sitting pretty on top of your TV will be eliminated from view.
The demo shown at the CES 2013 event showed different applications of this new technology and Microsoft said that the demo was captured live and that it was not edited during post production.
Have you always wanted your games to look more realistic? Well, so have the developers in Microsoft. That’s why they have developed ‘IllumiRoom’, a technology that will make all the images on your game come out alive and fill your room. Details regarding the price and availability are hard to come by, but even as we are wondering whether this tech will make room in the next Xbox, Microsoft wants us to keep an eye open on the CHI 2013 event.
The next time you play your favorite game on your TV; don’t crib about your TV and its small stature. When Microsoft’s IllumiRoom makes it to the market, your room will become your TV. We sincerely hope that it is big enough for your gaming needs!