Augmented reality: Microsoft's RoomAlive system (photo credit: Microsoft Research/YouTube)

Augmented reality: Microsoft’s RoomAlive system (photo credit: Microsoft Research/YouTube)

Microsoft has developed the RoomAlive prototype that creates an augmented reality in a room – and has been compared to Star Trek’s famous holodeck.

Imagine if you could turn your front room into something else or another place – and that you could interact with its inhabitants and immerse yourself in that environment?

Microsoft has unveiled a system that could just be a step towards turning that into a reality.

The RoomAlive project uses projectors, depth cameras and a computer to create an augmented gaming environment that allows people to touch and interact with virtual 3-D objects and creatures.

The system maps and covers an entire room – including furniture and people inside – with an augmented reality. It results in an experience that coexists seamlessly with the existing physical environment, according to Microsoft, and this video shows just a few examples of how it can be used.

Microsoft acknowledges it will be a while before the prototype system could become a practical reality, but the tantalising future that it offers has led to comparisons with Star Trek’s Holodeck.

The Holodeck is a computer generated alternative reality that allows users, like Captain Jean-Luc Picard, to experience it as if it was real and interact in that environment.

RoomAlive in action (photo credit: Microsoft Research/YouTube)

RoomAlive in action (photo credit: Microsoft Research/YouTube)

Microsoft researcher Hrvoje Benko said: “RoomAlive enables any space to be transformed into an augmented, interactive display.

“Our system enables new interactive projection mapping experiences that dynamically adapts content to any room.

“Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge, and steer projected content that seamlessly coexists with their existing physical environment.”

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