The lights are on
Some concepts need to be seen to be understood and appreciated. On paper, Microsoft's Illumiroom could be considered laughable. In an age of high definition OLED televisions, projectors shouldn't be exciting, and they certainly shouldn't be able to make a viewing experience immersive. In five minutes, Microsoft can probably change your mind.
Unlike Microsoft's Kinect, which requires a wide play space in front of your television for motion capture, Illumiroom flips that technology around and pairs it with a projector, seemingly usable in a variety of room configurations. The Kinect is used for sensing screen activity and understanding the environment around the primary viewing space (most often a television).
From there, users have a choice of overlays (some of which require developer input). The impact on the viewing experience varies with options for the occasional effect like a laser sight breaking the television perimeter, a sharp edge accent for surrounding environment, and full screen extension.
Further, the Illumiroom can be used to change the texturing in the play space. In the video below, the color palette on the entertainment center is changed and even made to look cel-shaded. Take note of the shockwave effect during the Portal portion of the demonstration.
Illumiroom was first shown at this year's Consumer Electronic's Show in January. It's still only in the proof of concept phase, but if practical, could make its way to mass production. Just make sure to turn the lights off before you turn the device on.
[Source: Microsoft Research]