Microsoft, what a big old bunch of lamenoids, eh? Fusty sweater-wearers to Apple’s sleek new cyber-centurions, right? Ooh, try telling that to the boffins at Microsoft Research – they’d take you outside and thump you. That’s if they had the time. But they don’t. They’re too busy working on new concepts like the IllumiRoom.
The Consumer Electronics Show has been happening in Las Vegas in recent days and, as ever, the tech-centric trade event witnessed the unveiling of all manner of futuristic gizmos guaranteed to pique the interest of video marketing companies like we good folk here at Spectrecom.
And it was at the CES where the IllumiRoom made its public debut. In Microsoft Research’s own words, it’s ‘designed to push the boundary of living room immersive entertainment by blending our virtual and physical worlds with projected visualisations.’
Yeah, maybe not. This online video (which has already scored 3.3million YouTube hits in 9 days) goes some way towards cutting through the waffle…
Pretty neat, no? The tech involved is a Kinect (the motion-sensing Xbox 360 appendage) and a projector. When the IllumiRoom is activated, the Kinect scans the physical dimensions of the actual room, with this data then being used during the creation of the display images.
Though obviously designed with gaming in mind, what the first glimpse of the IllumiRoom alluded to for this writer was the wall-size TVs featured in Ray Bradbury’s ‘50s dystopian classic Fahrenheit 451, and described thusly by the author: ‘It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world.’
Bradbury wasn’t a fan, painting this uber-telly as a sentience-sapping path to zombification. But with 21st century video marketing being all about winkling out new routes for hooking the viewer/user, the concept at the core of the IllumiRoom looks an interesting proposition.
Having said that, it’s only fair to note that the response to the device itself from those to witness it first-hand at CES has been mixed – Forbes called it ‘wildly impractical’, other outlets have been rather kinder.