A patent filed by Microsoft describes an “environmental display” that uses video projection to beam a 360-degree image around a room, and it could feature in the next Xbox.
The unusual system talks about interactive uses for the technology such as gaming. It wouldn’t become the sole way of showing the gameplay. Instead, it would complement the HD TV image by expanding the environment of the game well beyond the screen.
As the patent filing explains: “Interactive media experiences, such as video games, are commonly delivered by a high quality, high resolution display. Such displays are typically the only source of visual content, so that the media experience is bounded by the bezel of the display.
“Even when focused on the display, the user may perceive architectural and decorative features of the room the display is in via the user’s peripheral vision. Such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential of the media experience.
“Further, because some entertainment experiences engage the user’s situational awareness (e.g., in experiences like the video game scenario described above), the ability to perceive motion and identify objects in the peripheral environment (i.e., in a region outside of the high resolution display) may intensify the entertainment experience.”
The system could be integrated with a 3D camera and a new version of the Kinect sensor so that the player’s body position and posture will affect what parts of the game environment to display. The technology could also be used in conjunction with Microsoft’s rumoured ‘Fortaleza’ 3D glasses to add background depth.
There is no definite sign that any of this would come with the next-generation Xbox, still generally dubbed the Xbox 720, but as it is not due for about a year at the earliest, it’s possible.
It more closely resembles an impressive BBC R&D experiment from a couple of years ago called Surround Video, which used a fisheye lens to capture a wider version of a scene along with the normal camera’s view. This was then projected as a wall-filling backdrop to a big-screen TV to fill the viewer’s peripheral vision with more of the action.
Via Digital Spy
Images © Microsoft