Environment mapping for the masses
May 2, 2013 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Microsoft's IllumiRoom takes gaming visuals outside the box and onto the living room. Basically projection mapping for your living room, based on a 3D scan using Kinect, Microsoft Research's IllumiRoom lets you show either all of a game's environment, or only certain parts, projected on your living room walls.
posted by Joakim Ziegler (24 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are occasional moments where I see a new technology and my jaw drops. Google Glass did not invoke this effect. IllumiRoom does. Really worth watching the video.

It feels like The Future.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:25 PM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is cool and all, but it seems to require a lot of hardware. I mean I wouldn't own a perfectly good projector and a TV just for it (not to mention an Xbox 360 and secondary, projector-mounted Kinect).
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:30 PM on May 2, 2013


I think this is some pretty cool tech. For people who do enjoy gaming I think it'd be a killer accessory (or however they sell it). I just feel like there are some other uses that weren't explored. Something about the possibility for social interaction, maybe?
posted by Deathalicious at 8:34 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm slightly amused by MS Research using SuperTuxCart as one of the examples. But in general, yeah, this looks pretty awesome. Of course, it'd be even better if you painted your gaming room flat white and didn't have any furniture...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:36 PM on May 2, 2013


Deathalicious: "Something about the possibility for social interaction, maybe?"

Or something... similar. This could be used to make horror games a lot creepier, with shadows lurking around the living room in your peripheral vision.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:37 PM on May 2, 2013 [5 favorites]


Joakim Ziegler: "I'm slightly amused by MS Research using SuperTuxCart as one of the examples. But in general, yeah, this looks pretty awesome. Of course, it'd be even better if you painted your gaming room flat white and didn't have any furniture..."

Well, they need to reach into the game engine and geometry. Not sure why Tuxkart was the open source game of choice though.
posted by pwnguin at 8:47 PM on May 2, 2013


Or something... similar. This could be used to make horror games a lot creepier, with shadows lurking around the living room in your peripheral vision.

Silent Hill: Your Room.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:48 PM on May 2, 2013


Debbie does Dallas your room.
posted by 445supermag at 8:55 PM on May 2, 2013


I can only imagine how much cooler this would have made the time I drove the ATHLETE rover via a Kinect by running while I was at JPL. A white room + IllumiRoom, suddenly I'm on Mars. Going to have to send some emails tomorrow...
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 9:02 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not quite the Holodeck. Not yet.
posted by fredludd at 9:05 PM on May 2, 2013


Wouldn't this have to be pretty expensive? It's essentially a projector, except it has to be really bright so that it can show up on non-white, non-reflective surfaces. Plus a camera and a semi-powerful CPU. I'm guessing >$600 if it ever reaches the market.
posted by zixyer at 9:13 PM on May 2, 2013


I was thinking peripheral vision as well. ARMA II uses white dots to sort of simulate peripheral vision but I'm not sure any other games even attempt anything like that. Imagine playing Slender with this thing.

They can also move health bars and mini maps off the tv.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:13 PM on May 2, 2013


That's pretty darn cool, but sure seems like a lot of work to go to in order to CONTINUE TO DENY ME my plug and play VR console with full peripheral vision goggles, multidirectional treadmill and muscle sensing armband controller.

Will y'all console developers get over the Virtual Boy already?!? That was almost two decades ago. True immersive VR will sell, I swear.

But if you need a killer app because apparently walking on Mars or flying like a bird over Paris isn't enough, find a way to put porn on it and sell a deluxe set with a real doll a la how Nintendo used R.O.B. to sell the NES as a toy to quell fears of a repeat of the 1983 video game crash.

* http://www.oculusvr.com/
* http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2417982,00.asp
* http://gearpatrol.com/2013/03/04/myo-gesture-control-armban/
posted by Skwirl at 10:32 PM on May 2, 2013


Ad hominem: "Imagine playing Slender with this thing. "

No. Thanks.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:05 PM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is cool and all, but it seems to require a lot of hardware. I mean I wouldn't own a perfectly good projector and a TV just for it (not to mention an Xbox 360 and secondary, projector-mounted Kinect).

I think that the long-term idea would be to release this as a self-contained, commoditized device, just like the Kinect itself. So you'd buy the Xbox IllumiRoom accessory, which would include the projector-with-embedded-Kinect in it.

Then, you'd start to see Xbox 720 games "IllumiRoom-enhanced" or "built for IllumiRoom". The games would work fine without it (unlike most Kinect-specific games), but boy would they be awesome with it.

VERY mass produced, with advancing projector technology? They could probably aim for < $300 at launch and under $200 shortly thereafter. The Kinect is only $100 and change right now as a standalone accessory.

It's pretty sweet, and I say this as a dyed-in-the-wool PC gamer. I think the effect would be... more jarring/terrifying/inconsistent if you used it for a PC at a desk against a wall two feet from your face, in any event.
posted by disillusioned at 12:35 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah OK, fine for those of us with big Western-world houses that have expanses of white wall.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:39 AM on May 3, 2013


Yeah OK, fine for those of us with big Western-world houses that have expanses of white wall.

Magnolia privilege?
posted by jaduncan at 1:56 AM on May 3, 2013


I think that makers of film and TV content might be just as interested in exploiting this as games makers. The fact that the content need not be customized in order for the device to be used in some modes is an additional attraction. Software applications could also make use of this effect: run an app on your smartphone but have something which occupies the user's full field of view.

They don't mention the concept doing this in reverse - taking features of your living room and then having them influence a game environment - but I guess that could be possible too.

Looks like a technology to watch, in summary.
posted by rongorongo at 2:48 AM on May 3, 2013


If I worked at Sony, I would be really embarrassed that the PS4's big sales pitch so far has been "It has 30% more Social™ and is a totally outrageous paradigm!"

IllumiRoom has an almost comedically stereotypical brand name, but what matters is that it looks goddamn amazing. I would almost leave it on just to cel shade my house all the time.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:03 AM on May 3, 2013


zixyer : Wouldn't this have to be pretty expensive? It's essentially a projector, except it has to be really bright so that it can show up on non-white, non-reflective surfaces. Plus a camera and a semi-powerful CPU. I'm guessing >$600 if it ever reaches the market.

For the "camera", I had the impression they used the stock Kinect hardware. For the projector, keep in mind they don't need high-res, and really don't need it that bright (someone interested in ambient effects like this would likely take reasonable steps to optimize the environment, like reducing ambient light and removing one or two objects in the room that the projector couldn't "overpower").

On top of which, also consider that you have hardcore gamers paying in the $600-$1000 range just for a high-end GTX 690 or Radeon 7990 card.

Finally, Microsoft has quite a lot of industry influence to get what they want made cheaply - Current projectors target a market that wants the projection to appear bright and sharp, as the primary visual input for the user; they care about things like resolution, color banding, flicker, and "screen door" effect. This use instead makes the projector's image quality almost irrelevant. It wouldn't surprise me to see Microsoft use its influence to get a sub-$200 projector suitable to this purpose (and really nothing else) made.
posted by pla at 6:18 AM on May 3, 2013


Not quite the Holodeck. Not yet.
posted by fredludd


But four of them...
posted by 445supermag at 6:46 AM on May 3, 2013


zixyer : Wouldn't this have to be pretty expensive?
The main expense would probably be licensing for that tin of Altoids.
posted by rongorongo at 6:55 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that makers of film and TV content might be just as interested in exploiting this as games makers.

I'm picturing Punch-Drunk Love with those Jeremy Blake color interludes projected around the screen and I really want to see that. Also, concert films would become absolutely amazing.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:54 AM on May 3, 2013


Oh shit, and something like Blue Planet? Yes please!
posted by jason_steakums at 7:56 AM on May 3, 2013


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