Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Microsoft Holodeck

Microsoft has filed a patent on an immersive display system that projects images on the walls around you in addition to the main image on the screen. Though the intent of the technology seems to be for gaming, if it is successful, it could find more general entertainment uses. The concept has some history, both successful and not. Before there was unlimited computing power, flight simulators used to monitor the direction of gaze of the pilot and generate high resolution imagery in front of him and much lower resolution in his or her periphery. The pilots could never tell that everything was not in high resolution. For the purposes of Microsoft's gaming technology, it would not be possible to shift the high resolution image to the wall beside you but it could very well give much more of the feel of being in the place rather than watching it on a screen.

Philips had previously launched a much less ambitious version of this called Ambilight where the the TV merely projected colors from the image to the wall around it. It did not have much impact on the market. I believe that it was not substantial enough. However, coupled with beam-steered speakers, the Microsoft innovation could offer a compelling experience. The technology needs a dark room with acceptable geometry and acceptable colors, however it is somewhat like 3D in that it may take some creative art in using it effectively. I would imagine that effects that start away from the main screen and draw your eye forward would be more effective than effects that would actually cause you to turn your head. I also imagine focusing the effects on the ceiling (always there, usually white)would be more effective that counting on bare walls around the set.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.