An Immersive Look At Microsoft’s Display-Extending IllumiRoom Tech

Earlier this year, Microsoft gave us our first look at IllumiRoom, a new technology that uses a Kinect-enabled projector to extend the game-playing environment from the television screen into the living room. Today Microsoft Research has released a five-minute video that delves deeper into the technology that could debut on the next Xbox.

With the next Xbox set to be unveiled on May 21, the timing of this new video release hints at a shared destiny for the IllumiRoom tech and whatever game-playing device Microsoft has up its sleeves.

It’s a wonderful idea that looks amazing in a controlled environment. I’d say that if your living room looked exactly like this one, with its Ikea Expedit shelving system and the same lighting, then you’d be in for a treat.

I, on the other hand, keep my coffee table only a metre away from my television, and the Expedit shelves are in the dining room instead. I’m likely screwed.


  • I think I’d actually find that really, really distracting.

    And possibly dizziness/nausea-inducing… kind of like being in the front row at the cinema. I sit far enough back from my TV that I’ve got fixed, stationary points of reference around the edge of my vision. Having something like this take that away and just fill my entire vision with motion would probably make me throw up.

    • Same here, the preview stuff was pretty distracting and would keep me looking away from the actual screen.

      Also it would seem to be a fair bit of power going into projecting something that’s only peripherally useful

    • Do I sense a bit of anti-Microsoft sentiment here? You have to admit, this is really really cool.

      I remember reading similar criticism for 3D movies and force feedback in peripherals. Come on, how often would you focus on something other than the center of your TV screen? I rarely look at the edge of the images being displayed on my TV. You just don’t do it.

      Granted the extended gameplay is a bit nausea inducing but the environmental and explosion effects are pretty cool and I think it’d be fantastic to play a game of Battlefield, riding in a tank and being immersed in distorted effects as you blast away with your massive 15 foot cannon. There is nothing more manly than that.

  • It looks interesting, I’ve always wanted gaming lights for a console similar to amBX, hopefully it works out

  • OK I am seriously impressed. I had seen this but now I want this like crazy. I have historically been an xbox fanboy but have everything (master race included) and am very open minded about the next gen and love what PS have shown so far.. but this just looks so damn good and this would influence my buying decisions. Just about every game could be improved in some way by this so I can’t wait for May 21. 🙂

  • Looks cool, I like it. Only thing is I stopped using the living room years ago, I play xbox plugged into a PC monitor and sit at a desk up close like you would a PC

  • This would work amazingly for horror games.
    Imagine playing Amnesia and something pops out from behind the bookcase. Nightmare fuel.

  • im very sceptical about this, but the ‘snow’ effect did look amazing
    some of the other effects would just be annoying

  • I’m in.

    With only one eye, Occulus Rift isn’t going to do anything for me… but this is something I can get behind.

  • I’m in two minds about this – some of the effects are impressive and offer increased immersion.

    But at the same time it kind of feels like watching a game with blurry blinkers on – there are things happening within your peripheral vision, but not with enough detail to provide meaningful information.

    I mean if the idea is to create the effect of things happening outside the TV screen, why not just do away with the TV altogether and project onto a wall?

  • Anyone who is complaining about the lost detail on the projected image don’t understand what the concept is trying to achieve. By even extending the colours through plain lights can increase the level of immersion because it is the peripheral vision enhancement. As long as your focus is on your front, rest doesn’t matter at all. Has anyone watched “4D” cinema stuff? All they are doing ambient lighting around the screen and it helps increasing depth!

    Support this with stereoscopic 3D then it would be amazing!

  • Watch HD graphics overlaid en masse on my gaming environment? How does get fucked sound? The pixel size would be huge because, let’s face it, the next xBox aint gonna be 4K. There’s no point trying to extend the game environment to this extent if it’s not some kind of integrated VR – The Rift would be useless due to the goggle nature and adding a Kinect won’t make my pixellated carpet any prettier or functional. Anyone stupid enough to pay for the online multiplayer component of a console would probably be drooling at this.

  • I have enough problems with simple things like Planetariums that project stars in a darkened room let alone having a fully dynamic display like that. Besides, I’d much rather just do away with the TV and use a full wall of a room. I’m more keen for things like head wear that can make an empty room look full of furniture via AR.

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