There are any number of reasons why fans of Spike Jonze’s Her might envy Joaquin Phoenix’s character. He dated the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson. He wore super-cool high-waisted pants everywhere. And he got to play a fully three-dimensional, room-filling video game featuring an adorable alien child who swore violently at him. Well, the ability to romance computerized celebrities is probably still some years off, but those pants are already available online—and now Microsoft is trying to making that video game a reality with its RoomAlive project.
In the words of one of the researchers responsible, RoomAlive is “a proof-of-concept prototype that transforms any room into an immersive, augmented, magical gaming experience.” It uses a network of projectors and specialized cameras to take a read of a room, make a 3-D model of it, feed it into a game engine, and project a pixelated environment onto everything inside, from the walls to the furniture to the people. Users can then touch, shoot, or hurl themselves around what used to be their living room in an attempt to accomplish whatever goals the designers have dreamed up for them (or maybe because it’s what they were going to do anyway).
Microsoft released the video below, showing off a bit of what RoomAlive can do. Naturally, the researchers created a holodeck simulation, along with some simple games. The technology is likely a long ways away from becoming available to the public (and the fact that it requires a rig of projectors suspended from the ceiling can’t bode well for the price), but RoomAlive could eventually inspire game developers to create exciting, immersive new experiences, as well as revolutionize the way children wreck their parents’ homes.
[via The Wrap]