The Real Holodeck: Microsoft's RoomAlive Turns Your Entire Room into a Game
Gamers can now immerse themselves in a virtual reality using RoomAlive, a game that can turn the user's living room into an interactive, life-size game, not dissimilar to the simulated reality Holodeck in Star Trek (or, for a less happy reference, the Veldt from the Ray Bradbury short story).
[Credit: New Scientist]
Room Alive uses a combination of cameras and projectors to 3-D model a room and project holographic images onto the floor, ceilings, and walls, creating an entire virtual reality environment. Players can whack life-size moles, shoot bad guys with guns, and control a 3-D robot hologram that can fight more fantastically than a human. The cameras constantly track the player's movements, which makes the games more interactive and allows for RoomAlive to set traps for them. In a feature that's a toss-up between awesome and creepy, the game responds to a player being dealt a mortal wound by projecting images of spurting blood onto the player and the walls around him or her.
The objects in RoomAlive are limited to surfaces, so the team also created a game called Mano-A-Mano, which allows the players to interact with objects flying through the air. This game, which employs optical illusions and separate projectors for each player, allows the users to play a nice game of catch or (more likely) throw fireballs at each other.