Turn your room into a video game level

Microsoft has revealed version 2.0 of its IllumiRoom project, called RoomAlive. In short, the system uses Kinects and standard projectors to turn your lounge or bedroom – or any room, in fact – into your own video game level.

The RoomAlive project is the latest attempt from Microsoft to try and perfect interactive gaming technology, and looks similar to the game from the recently released movie Her. (The clip contains strong language.)

RoomAlive requires you to install several “procams” – each unit consists of a projector, Kinect, and a control device – after which the system will map your room and auto-calibrate itself. Microsoft references six procam units in its example.



Once the system is set up, the projectors throw an overlapping image onto the walls and floor of the room, along with the elements you interact with. In the testing video – posted below – these range from dart traps which you must dodge, mole-like creatures you must punch, kick, or shoot with a gun-controller, and small robots which you must shoot by controlling a soldier avatar.

What is cool about the soldier avatar game is the ability of the character to run along the floor and up walls – 3D gaming, if you will. RoomAlive can also be set to make your room look like the inside of a factory, a forest receiving some rain, or a bug-infested area.

The video demo can be watched, below.

By turning “every square inch” of your room into a pixel, one would imagine that designing a game for RoomAlive may be quite difficult as not all rooms are the same. This won’t be a problem, according to the developers.

“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.”

As for installation, the Procam units will be easy to install apparently, similar to a large light fitting. The diagram below shows what a basic set up would look like.



Obviously the system is not on sale yet as it is still being tested, but we will go out on a limb and say six projectors and Kinects, plus the software, will not be cheap.

“RoomAlive is a proof-of-concept prototype that envisions a future of interactive gaming with projection mapping. RoomAlive transforms any room into an immersive, augmented entertainment experience through the use of video projectors. Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content that seamlessly co-exists with their existing physical environment,” said the project’s researchers.

Are we voting yes or no for RoomAlive? Let us know in the comments and forum.

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