Microsoft IllumiRoom Breaks Your Video Game Out Of Its Television Prison


We see a lot of video game tech coming out of the three console giants (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo). With one look we can usually predict what is going to be a flop. Case and point is the Wii U whose sales have been less than extraordinary and Sony Move which is motion control directed as hardcore games who we believe are perfectly happy with the current evolution of their dual shock controllers. But this time around we think Microsoft has it nailed. They’re showing off technology they call IllumiRoom which uses a projector to bring your entire gaming room into the experience.

The image above is not doctored. This is a picture of IllumiRoom in action. A projector on the coffee table automatically calibrates to the room (using Kinect 3D data for mapping) in order to show realistic graphic rendering on the non-flat projection surfaces. In our mind, this comes straight out of Kinect hacking projects like the Hadouken projector. With this in place, the game designers are given free rein to come up with all kinds of different ways to use the feature. Stick with us after the break to see what they’ve developed.

[Thanks Michael via Tom’s Hardware]

73 thoughts on “Microsoft IllumiRoom Breaks Your Video Game Out Of Its Television Prison

    1. Cheat? It has been the case of whomever having the largest screen or willing to put up with fisheye has the advantage since the emergence of 17 inch screens. Only recently has it been considered ‘unfair’ as more and more game developers rob their customers of video options.

      Put another way, are people that have higher resolution screens cheating? After all, they can see targets at farther distances.

      1. When I console game on XBL, I want to just play and “vedge”… I’m tired of script kiddies running their RGH/JTAG setups that are hacked client side(which doesn’t bother me in principle) but they bully the guys that play public matches with their stock boxes.
        …Long story short, I see this as having awesome potential! But I can also see it as an avenue that m$ won’t regulate super tight, but the hackers MAY be able to run a “secondary” roving camera.
        Let me clarify. I’m pro hack, just not pro-cheating. I see this as a possible cheat via hack unlock.

        1. I can completely understand the sentiment. Pub stomping clans are annoying enough without enhancements. I have not played on a console in some years and did not know cheating became an issue.

        2. I agree with you on that. I have nothing against people modding their machines or even screwing around with them online, but don’t screw with anyone that doesnt want to be screwed with. And for the record, i think this idea is great, and would love for video games to be even more immersive.

        3. I have a couple thousand hours logged on Live, 150 games, and I’ve never seen blantent cheating in any game. I’ve heard it occurred in WaW or COD4 but I never saw it… I’m curious, what games are you playing that you see this in?

          1. I tried playing CoD 4 a year or so ago, and all the lobbies were infected with viral hacks. Flying and speed and all sorts of BS. Entirely unplayable, and because the game is “old” the publisher had no interest in fixing it.

        1. did you not see the part where the controller interface board was housed in an altoids can? If I’ve learned anything from this site it’s that housing your project in an altoids can is instant hacker cred.

      1. I have a feeling many hackers make it a point to buy the altoids just for the tin and cred, the question now is who is going to come up with a hackaday worthy use for all the un used breath mints?

        1. a few maybe. but not all. I actually recommend to people to post their projects to reddit when I have emails back and forth with them. We would be stupid to simply scrape reddit. It would actually be more work to do that than to just pick and choose from what people send us.

    1. Some of you need to get off your own sacks….

      if all your interested in is yahdc (yet another hard drive clock) then build your site and fill it up useless redundant articles..
      I for one like to see these blogs, they keep up to date on whats being developed in the world. I have FT job, a family, a couple of organizations I am involved with..and a side chick! Don’t have to time to read/search every story on every blog. this fills that gap to some extent

      don’t like the way they run this your own

    2. Yes and no. No, this isn’t so much a hack a person has done so much as a company commercializing a (freaking awesome) product. However, yes, since (as other people have posted), hackers have been doing stuff like this for a few years. I am really excited about this and really hope it actually happens. It is really inspiring to see companies actually see cool hacks and incorporate it into their products. This type of story on Hack-a-Day is nice, so long as it continues to be rare.

  1. Too bad they don’t show what it looks like off-angle (when you’re not sitting in the same line as TV->projector.
    Nice presentation anyhow, looks very cool.

  2. Ideally, the projector should sit behind you, so that the entire projected image will always be visible to you.

    For example, the book case on the left with the square pockets. With the projector in front of you, there will be areas in the right of each pocket where the projector cannot project an image that will still be visible to you.

      1. Nice idea, but I would rather not have to strap a kinect to my head to enjoy this. Sitting in one spot in front of the tv when I play games is good enough for me.

          1. False. Price up a projector capable of 4k resolutions which is what you’d need to keep the are in the screen at the same resolutions. I think you’ll find this is orders of magnitude cheaper.

  3. Well, sadly I don’t expect this to ever be commercialized, since MS will not bother since it would be too costly for the larger market (and balmer is all about volume). And seeing that it’s now patented by MS I assume; others can’t market it either.
    So make it yourself or forget about it.

    And remember that touch sensitive keyboard they showed? The one that would be cheap to mass-produce.. the one they had videos of with lots of ideas.. the one we’ll never see again.. it’s a nice reminder.

    1. The way it scanned the room is no new tech, the lines the projector created were simple structured light scanning patterns. The first papers on the topic (that I could find in wiki) were from 2000, and some of those referred to it as something that had been done before. Patents might not exist on the software side of processing it. However, the Kinect does the exact same thing with infrared (again, paper from 2001) but it’s patents seem to be in implementing the real time scanning and remapping in a single chip instead of off-loading the image processing and person/people detection to the CPU.

      No, the downside of seeing it come out of MS is that at best we would expect it to be a XBox exclusive, and require a custom MS projector. I can’t think of any small, wide-angle, projectors that are cheap enough for them to just include in the next XBox as a perk hoping that developers would use this option.

      1. The hardware is just a kinect hooked up to an lcd projector. there’s no reason they couldn’t use the existing kinect hardware & let people use buy their own projectors.

        sure, they wouldn’t be making money from selling people projectors, but it would add a sexy selling point to their existing products. and nothing’s stopping them from actually selling a projector of their own as well.

        as far as xbox exclusivity goes, do you really think they won’t make a windows pc version available? or that the other companies won’t be able to come up with some sort of patent skirting knock-offs?

        1. Not only that but if they do drop it they could license out the tech to other companies if there was a real interest and they didn’t want to do it themselves.

  4. never has anything made me want something microsoft like this. if this was in the new xbox it would be the first and only xbox i’d ever own. this is very impressive.

  5. Uhhh, I’ve been doing this for years. It’s called buy a video projector. Clear the junk off the wall; suddenly, you won’t need processing, post-processing or even a Kinect if you don’t want one.

    1. That game… oh jeez that game was beyond anything I’ve ever played and to this day no company has come close to psychologically scaring the pants off of me like ED did. If it were done with a setup like this…. *shivers*

  6. “motion control directed as hardcore games who we believe are perfectly happy with the current evolution of their dual shock controllers”

    I’m not. Controllers have a long,long way to go imho.

    That said, this is universally awesome.

      1. While not as good as a mouse, wiimotes and move are better pointer devices then sticks. Thus I prefer them for FPS games or RTS.

        Everything has its strengths. Mouses are certainly one of the most flexible things though.
        Now if someone invented a analogue keyboard with force feedback…..

        1. The Theremin was first at fine gesture control, tho without feedback. Try a good grand piano for force feedback or a tracker pipe organ or harpsichord all are like model M typing keyboards. High school taught on Underwood’s best.

        2. MS did invent an analog and cheap to make keyboard. No forcefeedback though, and they killed it.

          Talking of force-feedback, I don’t think anything is left that has it anymore, it’s odd when you think about it. And yes you might find some steeringwheel that has some force-feedback but then you need to find a game that supports it.

          And Sony even had to be forced by the users to support rumble.. I really don’t get why it’s disliked to have some tactile feedback available for gamers.

          1. i seem to recall hearing that some patent troll obtained the patents for force feedback game controllers years ago, then suddenly started suing everyone after years of not enforcing them. i may be wrong though.

    1. 1. It looks appealing
      2. You can buy a cheap(~$250) product that does this where you normally wouldn’t spend it.
      3. why waste your 1080p projector’s(Unless a 4k is supported on the 720) resolution when this product is all in addition to it in non critical areas

  7. I think that another company may already own some of the patent space for projecting colour/perspective compensation corrected video onto coloured, patterned non-flat surfaces. This might be interesting to watch at a future date. *grabs popcorn* – patents in many ways are pure evil, and in a lot of ways hold back technology, especially when applied to software.

  8. I know this is a decent hack but wouldn’t it just be easier to buy a couple of hi def projectors and run the system to them from a video splitter? I mean seriously this is just an extension of a screen when you don’t need a screen at all.

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