Microsoft researchers have introduced a prototype gaming system that can morph a room into an interactive, augmented reality display

Microsoft’s new prototype can turn any surface into a gaming landscape. The project is called "RoomAlive" and it uses projectors and depth cameras to work out the dimensions of a room. Any surface can be used as a display for images of a game. Ceiling mounted cameras keep track of people moving in the space to help work out how they interact with game projections. RoomAlive is the evolution of a previous attempt to augment gaming with projectors called "IllumiRoom" last year.

Carpets can become rivers and creatures and pop out from behind your couch. 

Microsoft’s new project “RoomAlive" extends the Xbox gaming environment and combines Kinect and projectors. The player can reach out and hit objects, or interact through any surfaces of the room. This includes dodging projectiles and hitting creatures on walls. Microsoft’s new prototype “Room Alive” allows carpets to become rivers and creatures and pop out from behind your couch. This includes dodging projectiles and hitting creatures on walls. 

Though the news project RoomAlive has generated much excitement, Microsoft has said that the video was made to demonstrate the possibilities of augmented gaming on Xbox and Kinect consoles.  As of yet, it had no plans to turn the project RoomAlive into a commercial product.

For now the video projectors and the Kinect equipment is too expensive for installment into your personal living room, however, there is always hope that the technology will become smaller and cheaper. There is already a market for motion gaming that Microsoft has already tapped into. 

There is a potential market in home theatre customers who are already familiar will all-room setups like surround sound. However, for those with small rooms and living spaces RoomAlive is hardly ideal. But gaming might not be the only application of such technology. But gaming might not be the only application of such technology. There can be interesting applications in training, education and medicine.

Competitors have also been working on the creation of virtual reality experiments

Sony has also been working on the creation of virtual reality experiments, but Microsoft has reached the goal of automatic surface detection first. Microsoft’s new prototype “Room Alive” could become a viable addition to the Xbox line very soon.

These developments suggest that there is a lot of research on-going into the hardware side of gaming rather than advances in digital distribution. There is some innovation still to be seen, and the Xbox line will continue to evolve. This is not the end of the development of the console.

Microsoft’s new prototype can turn any surface into a gaming landscape: "There's still lots to explore with RoomAlive as a gaming platform," said a Microsoft Research spokesperson. "We envision a future where games can use physical objects as part of the game." This could become a viable addition to the Xbox line very soon. #Videogames