Microsoft RoomAlive - Your Basement Is The Game

Microsoft's RoomAlive prototype extends an Xbox gaming environment to your entire basement. It creates an augmented reality experience throughout a room.

(Microsoft RoomAlive video)

RoomAlive is a proof-of-concept prototype that transforms any room into an immersive, augmented entertainment experience. Our system enables new interactive projection mapping experiences that dynamically adapts content to any room. Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content that seamlessly co-exists with their existing physical environment. The basic building blocks of RoomAlive are projector-depth camera units, which can be combined through a scalable, distributed framework. The projector-depth camera units are individually auto-calibrating, self-localizing, and create a unified model of the room with no user intervention. We investigate the design space of gaming experiences that are possible with RoomAlive and explore methods for dynamically mapping content based on room layout and user position. Finally we showcase four experience prototypes that demonstrate the novel interactive experiences that are possible with RoomAlive and discuss the design challenges of adapting any game to any room.

SF fans recall several predecessors to the idea of a Star Trek: The Next Generation "holodeck" as presented in that show's 1987 pilot episode. Read about the Veldt from Ray Bradbury's 1951 novel The Illustrated Man and the dimensino from the 1961 novel Time is the Simplest Thing, by Clifford Simak.

I think that the RoomAlive prototype was anticipated in full in the virtual "rifle range" from Clifford Simak's award-winning 1963 Novel Way Station. In the novel, Enoch Wallace was a man with a rural upbringing who fought in the Civil War. When he was approached by aliens about running a way station in the galactic chain, he was asked if he would like some sort of entertainment center built underneath the station.

The basement was huge... carved deep into the rock that folded up to underlie the ridge...

Finally the gallery widened into an oval room and the walls here were padded with a thick gray substance that would entrap a bullet and prevent a ricochet.

Enoch walked over to a panel ... and thumbed a tumbler, then stepped quickly out into the center of the room... He stood on a little hillock and in front of him the land sloped down to a sluggish river bordered by a width of marsh.
(Read more about the virtual rifle range)

Looks like Microsoft will be providing you with Enoch's basement virtual shooting range very soon.

Via Microsoft Research

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