If I Could IllumiRoom

IllumiRoom has been generally known about since CES 2013. Great work from Microsoft Research on this one. Seriously though, this could be an entertainment and educational experience that augments the area surrounding the TV! How awesome is that? Pretty cool, but then I started thinking to myself how does this differ than just using a projector connected to an XBOX? Yep, it does differ and here are a few quick thoughts to further distinguish the possibilities of IllumiRoom.

The first is fairly basic with regards to the size and focus when in game play. If you’re using a projector to play Halo 4 the output on the wall will simply be larger in size. Depending on the size of the screen projection your character and surrounding map is just larger in size. Don’t get me wrong, still an awesome experience but very flat. The IllumiRoom will make this experience better in my mind by extending certain aspects of the gameplay onto the walls and ceiling surrounding you. Yeah, it’s cool that the snowflakes and ammunition trails extend beyond your focal point. Consider having maps and other informational content associated with the game play available just off to the side of the screen. As you continue game play you can interact with this additional content using Kinect voice commands. This will allow gameplay to continue while giving you access to additional commands and details. This is a nice touch of added functionality.

Enter the Bing Travel app which is available on Windows 8 / RT. Have you tried it? It’s pretty slick. You might be thinking to yourself, how is this guy going to roll the Bing Travel app into an article about IllumiRoom? It’s quite simple actually if you take into account the push of late by Microsoft for interactive Entertainment. The Photosynth panoramic scenery made available with the partnership between Bing Travel and 360cities.com is the part that catches my attention. As you navigate the Bing Travel app to the panoramas you’ll notice that it takes advantage of the accelerometer in the Surface RT. This allows you to spin around, look up and down at the various sceneries provided in the app. This has to be one of my favorite things to do on the Surface RT. Now merge Bing Travel panoramas with the IllumiRoom (using SmartGlass?) and bring that 360 degree view into my living room.

I was intrigued when watching a video of Jonathan Fay of Microsoft Research navigate the World Wide Telescope a few years back. I don’t recall the forum he was at but it was published soon after the release of the Kinect sensor. It was amazing to see him travel through space and time with the movement of his hands. I immediately started to consider all the possibilities from an educational standpoint, the tools that will be available to both teachers and parents at home is just mind boggling. I love the idea that someday soon I’d be able to use a combination of sensors to turn my entertainment room into a virtual universe or take a virtual trip to various destinations for the sake of exploration and education.