- Microsoft’s ‘Kinect’ sensor, coupled with range of projectors, could convert living room into virtual world
- Technology would likely revolutionise conference calls and business use
By Eddie Wrenn
PUBLISHED: 05:30 EST, 12 September 2012 | UPDATED: 06:48 EST, 12 September 2012
Microsoft’s team of researchers is looking to transform your living room into a futuristic Star Trek-style ‘Holodeck’.
In these images, revealed by a patent application published last month, Microsoft unveiled its vision for its future game consoles – but instead of watching the action through a typical computer monitor or TV, your walls come alive with the action.
The technology will use Microsoft’s Kinect sensor – which currently lets you control games by waving your hands at the television – to map out your room and your location within it, before a range of video projectors overlay a full and immersive 3D world over your surroundings.
So, instead of turning your TV on to play computer games, your whole living room – plant pots and all – could be transformed into a full 3D world from which you can hunt aliens on a distant planet or take part in epic Westerns.
Patently Apple, which reports on innovations by Apple and its competitors, spotted the patent application this week.
The Kinect will also be able to recognise the furniture in your room, either incorporating chairs and tables directly into the game, or masking them by adapting the video output to render the items invisible.
It conjures up an image where a gamer could literally turn around in their living room to see an enemy sneaking up behind them.
The Kinect has been one of Microsoft’s runaway successes of the last few years, beginning life as an accessory for the company’s Xbox games console.
Instead of being tied to a controller, players could use their body to control the action in a myriad ways – for instance virtually pulling back a bow and arrow, or dancing as the console rated how good (or bad) you are at copying on-screen celebrities.
It works by using infra-red and a depth camera technology to work out where you are standing, and your body position, and translating these to your in-game character.
It is unknown how far along this technology is. The patent was first filed early last year, and was published by the Patent and Trademark Office in the last month.
Writer Jack Purcher on Patently Apple said: ‘I could remember it being so dramatic when gaming shifted from the CRT to HDTV with 1080p.
‘Games came to life like never before. So the very thought that gaming will one day be able to immerse us into detailed gaming environments by projecting the imagery of the game onto the walls of our room is simply wild.
‘Just having it projected unto the wall behind our HDTV’s would be a great start – but having it truly immerse us with the gaming enviroment taking over all four walls around us could be a real breakthrough in the gaming experience.’