Microsoft's RoomAlive turns your living room into a holodeck

Microsoft's IllumiRoom project has expanded beyond a single-Kinect set-up and is now called "RoomAlive." RoomAlive turns an enclosed area into an interactive gaming space, with enemies and puzzles projected on walls, floors and objects for residents to take out with their hands, feet or peripherals. The new and improved RoomAlive uses multiple projectors and depth cameras to scan a room and all of its contents, and then it superimposes interactive environments on top of everything.

"IllumiRoom was largely focused on display, extending traditional gaming experiences out of the TV," the Microsoft Research team writes. "RoomAlive instead focuses on interaction, and the new kinds of games that we can create with interactive projection mapping. RoomAlive looks farther into the future of projection mapping and asks, 'What new experiences will we have in the next few years?'"

Microsoft offers four RoomAlive demos in its new video: The first draws different environments over the living room, including a holodeck, factory and a river with raindrops hitting it. Or it can make your living room look like it's crawling with cockroaches, apparently. There's also a whack-a-mole game, and a top-down shooter that uses objects (and walls) as hills, valleys and hidey-holes. The fourth demo is a booby-trap overlay that shoots virtual arrows at people and then shows blood splatters where they're hit.

RoomAlive is a proof-of-concept prototype, not a commercial project. Not yet, at least. Microsoft last year said the IllumiRoom project would cost "thousands of dollars" if sold to the average consumer.

[Image: Microsoft]