Microsoft Research's Illumiroom

By Norman Chan

One of the coolest demos from CES isn't a real product...yet.

I didn't see this at the Samsung CES keynote last week, but Microsoft Research's Illumiroom demo is really neat. The idea is that an Xbox Kinect can scan the surface area surrounding your TV to use that wall space as a projector surface to extend whatever you're seeing on screen. This could range from ambient action indicators to wireframe maps for games. The trick lies in distorting and correcting the projected image to appropriately map onto your room's unique geometry. Microsoft says all of the footage used in its demo (YouTube link) was filmed live and not composited in after the fact. It's something you really have to watch to get a sense for, but its potential is immediately recognizable. Some people are calling this the killer feature for the next-gen Xbox, and though it would be cool, we would rather wait for Microsoft to make a formal announcement before jumping to conclusions. Discuss!