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Microsoft Files Patent for Room-Filling Immersive Display

By - Source: Ars Technica | B 19 comments

This patent shows an Xbox peripheral that can project a virtual environment into any room without visual disruption from the player or furniture.

Ars Technica points to a patent application filed by Microsoft that projects a "peripheral image" around a room, creating a 360-degree view of a virtual scene. Called "Immersive Display Experience," the application was filed in early 2011 but made public by the U.S. Patent Office on September 6.

Microsoft's patent application seemingly points to the next stage of the Xbox console's evolution, describing a peripheral capable of projecting a scene that surrounds the user. It won't replace the central TV display, but rather will serve as a secondary video output, providing a "peripheral image" that will "serve as an extension" of the primary display. This would seemingly indicate that a gamer, playing an FPS, would physically turn around and see an approaching villain.

In addition to the projector, the console peripheral will also feature a depth-sensing camera system – likely the Kinect – within the same casing. This portion may be a standard, two-camera, structured-light-sensing system like the current Kinect device, or be a more sophisticated model that could include "multiple image capture devices" to "stitch a panoramic image from a plurality of captured images" pointed in all directions around the room.

The depth-sensing camera, as described in the patent, will sense the layout and topography of the room. This information will in turn be used to provide color and distortion correction so that the projected images look correct even when projected against walls and various pieces of furniture. The camera will also determine the player's physical position and adjust the scenery accordingly so that the environment looks natural as the player moves about the room.

The patent application also suggests that stereoscopic 3D could be used, offering gamers an even more immersive, 360-degree experience. This seemingly points back to the "Fortaleza glasses" concept, the augmented reality display mentioned in leaked Microsoft documents back in June. There's even mention of a "Shielded" region in the projected image so that the light doesn't shine directly in the player's eyes.

Still, this concept makes you wonder what the function of the primary display will be. It's possible that it will contain only information about what's going on in the game such as score points, the amount of ammo, or some other HUD-like information. There's also a question as to how the user would move through this environment – would he/she walk in place and the depth-sensing camera would sense every step?

Even more, where would the console be placed? In the center of the room? Along a wall? One concept image shows the console and peripheral seated next to an HDTV sitting flush against a wall. On the screen is the gamer's virtual gun and virtual enfironment which of course flows over onto the surrounding walls. If the HDTV still serves as the main view, then the entire scenery will likely rotate as the player progresses through the shooter.

But if this device is meant to provide a stationary virtual environment so that the player can physically walk around the room, then it will require a specific group of games – maybe like a rail shooter where the virtual "car" stops so that the player can shoot enemies before moving on. It could also be used in RPGs and mystery games or perhaps the next SIMS title – it's all speculation at this point.

As Ars points out, this application may never be approved, but it seems that Microsoft wants to move one step closer to an actual Holodeck. To read the entire patent application, head here.

 

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  • 6 Hide
    damianrobertjones , September 14, 2012 11:37 AM
    I can imagine it now... A ceiling projector with 4 lenses! Now that would be something
  • 5 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , September 14, 2012 11:40 AM
    I object. This cannot be a patent. People have done it already.
  • 3 Hide
    captainblacko , September 14, 2012 11:50 AM
    i saw this on the BBC website the other day, pretty impressive but i cant help but think stuff like your furniture is going to get in the way. looks like i'll have to buy a new house with a spare room dedicated to the xbox!
  • Display all 19 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    blppt , September 14, 2012 12:17 PM
    Screw the Holodeck. I want a Holoshed!!!
  • 0 Hide
    leo2kp , September 14, 2012 12:18 PM
    Hollodeck!
  • -1 Hide
    shahrooz , September 14, 2012 12:39 PM
    they have done it using PS3 move, as an advertisement for PS3 move actually. it's pathetic

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrgWH1KUDt4

    nowadays it's about whoever comes up with the idea of patenting something not about coming up with the idea of invention and innovating something.
  • 1 Hide
    spookie , September 14, 2012 12:48 PM
    The_TrutherizerI object. This cannot be a patent. People have done it already.


    They can patent it because it is "one thing" doing everything
  • 2 Hide
    Swolern , September 14, 2012 1:21 PM
    My 5760x1080 displays just got murdered!

    Sign me up!
  • 0 Hide
    ejb222 , September 14, 2012 1:24 PM
    Imagine falling off a cliff and the image is projected on the floor...in 3D! I like the idea of where these patents are going...Hope they stay practical and useful!
  • 4 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , September 14, 2012 1:25 PM
    The_TrutherizerI object. This cannot be a patent. People have done it already.


    You can't patent the idea of what something does, but rather how it does it. If approved it does not mean Sony cannot do the same thing, only that they can't do it the same way MS's device does it.
  • -6 Hide
    alidan , September 14, 2012 1:39 PM
    this idea is stupid.

    the kinect, requires such a large living room to work than anyone with less cant use it as it stands.
    than this comes around, and the only way it can function is if you dot have anything on the walls...

    but lets also not forget, even a crappy 720p projector is over 500$, and than, scaleing a 720p image up to a wall size would look like hell

    and 1080p puts you into the 900$ range for one that isnt even great.

    needing at least 3, 1 per wall, and they would look like hell, i just cant see this as doable...

    WHY cant they just use head mount display like sony/valve/carmack are? that is FAR more promising than this crap.
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , September 14, 2012 1:46 PM
    The idea sounds interesting, but playing any game like this would be anything but. I'm all for exercising and everything, but running and jumping in place in my room. This kind of thing seems more interesting to me in terms of viewing something like a movie or TV show, but in terms of gameplay, especially when you get beyond the FPS genre, this kind of thing becomes more cumbersome than entertaining. You would really need something like a very large, wide open area, so it would make better use for something like military training.
  • 4 Hide
    djscribbles , September 14, 2012 2:43 PM
    The_TrutherizerI object. This cannot be a patent. People have done it already.


    Patents are about inventing new and better ways of doing things. The thing being done doesn't have to be new; you can't patent a projector that projects a 360 degree image, but you can patent the lens and any other unique attributes to your projector that make it able to project a 360degree image.

    qq about patents is getting old. Yes, some companies abuse idiotic SW patents to stifle innovation, but not every patent application is 'dumb' or 'evil'.
  • 1 Hide
    djscribbles , September 14, 2012 2:50 PM
    Also, I find it kinda strange that the article missed some seemingly apparent stuff. The projected image likely won't be anywhere near the quality and speed of a TV/Projector, it's for peripheral vision and immersion, perhaps it's something that could grow beyond that but everything indicates you still need a real display to actually play the game.

    I think it's a pretty awesome idea, especially if they can keep the cost low, probably not worth much more than an extra 100$ over the cost of a kinect.
  • 1 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , September 14, 2012 3:47 PM
    This would be pretty sweet, but you would almost need a dedicated room to make full use of it. I already have trouble in my smaller living room with the current Kinect.
  • -1 Hide
    XZaapryca , September 14, 2012 6:06 PM
    I just drew a spaceship! Off to the patent office now....
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , September 15, 2012 3:17 AM
    DjScribblesThe projected image likely won't be anywhere near the quality and speed of a TV/Projector, it's for peripheral vision and immersion, perhaps it's something that could grow beyond that but everything indicates you still need a real display to actually play the game.
    Ding ding ding! We have a winner. It's designed to bring the game into our peripheral vision, not replace the primary display (which would still contain the part of the game our eyes are focused on). It's actually a really interesting idea. and it could very well make the game experience more immersive. As you move past objects, characters, etc, or as you turn your character away from them, they are projected on the wall instead of the main display and thus rather than vanishing completely (and abruptly) they enter your peripheral vision.
  • 0 Hide
    isabelle huddleston , September 18, 2012 10:45 AM
    It could also be used in RPGs and mystery games or perhaps the next SIMS title – it's all speculation at this point.

    http://www.prometmarketing.com/
  • 0 Hide
    jonjonjon , November 5, 2012 11:01 PM
    this is dumb. my room isnt a perfect square and has slanted ceilings. then bed and furniture in the way. this flat out wont work in my room. ms needs to stick to gaming and making fist party games and stop all this other garbage. now if they want to make real virtual reality not some lame augmented reality 3d projector on the walls then sign me up. ms failed with kinect and in the process ruined xbox. in their need to copy wii they rush into the motion controller fad as everyone was throwing their wii's away. sound familiar to windows 8 and tablets? all kinect does now is voice recognition gimmicks in some games so they can slap a "better with kinect" label on it. not to mention all you need is the $5 ms headset and you can already do voice recognition in games that support it. all i want is xbox 720 with no kinect 2 and no other lame little kid peripherals. as much as a despise the ps3 controllers ms is making sony look better and better.