It's not quite holodeck technology, but it's not far off. A patent filed back in March by Microsoft describes advanced display technology that extends the gaming environment from the television to all four walls of a room.
Imagine playing a Call of Duty or Gears of War and being able to see an enemy approaching from your peripheral vision. How about being able to look over your shoulder to see how close your competitors are in a racing game? Microsoft's patent, simply titled Immersive Display Experience, is geared towards making that happen.
The patent, discovered at Patently Apple, lays out technology that's far more advanced than simply projecting an image around the room.
The tech revolves around a device called the Environmental Display (the webcam-looking device atop the television in the picture), an RGB projector that handles the task of extending the display beyond the television, wrapping the gamer's room in graphics. A depth camera, integrated into the peripheral, could be used to help map the user's environment, with the projected image corrected to compensate for furniture and other objects — instead of seeing a chair painted with light, the projected image would adjust in order to help your furniture blend in.
That sounds excitingly dangerous, doesn't it?
Meanwhile the Kinect, also seen atop the TV in the image, could be used to track a user's movements. Eyes could be tracked so that projected areas would come into focus depending on where the user is looking. The Kinect would also be used to determine where the user is standing so the projector can avoid hitting them in the face with a bright beam of light, which is probably an important thing.
The patent even suggests that the player would be able to enjoy a truly immersive 3D experience by utilising active shutter glasses that synchronise with both the television and Environment Display.
It's an incredibly ambitious technology that could change the way people play video games. It also sounds like it would be relatively worthless in a well-lit room, but who games in a well-lot room anyway?
Originally published on Kotaku Australia.