My Room is Alive!

If you missed it at CES 2013 then prepare to be amazed at Microsoft’s IllumiRoom which turns any room into an interactive augmented reality computer game, almost like a budget Star Trek holodeck. At the time Microsoft disappointed a lot of people by claiming it was only a research project and wouldn’t be an end user product, until now with the launch of RoomAlive.

“RoomAlive is a proof-of-concept prototype that transforms any room into an immersive, augmented, magical entertainment experience,” the team explains on the Microsoft Research website. “RoomAlive presents a unified, scalable approach for interactive projection mapping that dynamically adapts content to any room. Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content that seamlessly co-exists with their existing physical environment.”

It works by mapping a room with Xbox Kinects, controlled by individual computer modules and then projects the game or environment directly onto the 3D surfaces in the room, meaning you have a fully immersive augmented reality experience for any room in your house.

“For most projection mapping pieces, content must be painstakingly created for the particular object to be projected on. The artist must take into account the object shape and colour, along with the projector location, field of view etc,” Jones and Sodhi explained.

Shooting Critters in Augmented Reality
Shooting Critters in Augmented Reality

“RoomAlive enables game designers to create projection mapped games independent of the particular room that the content is displayed in. All the content in RoomAlive is driven in real-time and dynamically adapts to the exact colour and geometry of the user’s living room. For instance, RoomAlive can automatically detect the floors and walls of the room.”

The RoomAlive concept currently works on 6 Kinect / projector / computer modules called procam units and is auto-calibrating and self-localising. This means that all an end user has to do is install the units in the right locations in the room and the system takes care of the rest, it even registers the users head position allowing the system to display to the users perspective in 3D.

Even though RoomAlive is still a proof on concept and further development is required to make an end user product we can’t wait to play Halo 6 in augmented reality, seriously amazing.

Stay Curious – C.Costigan


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