Microsoft’s new technology transforms your room into a video game

In an unprecedented and long-awaited move, Microsoft has patented a new gaming console that blends projector and Xbox/Kinect technology to take the video game environment literally outside the box and into your home.  The patent should serve to keep Google’s competing Interactive Spaces project at bay, a project that also uses projection and cameras to map locations and movement using blob-tracking.  The console, being touted as Xbox 720/Kinect V2, projects the 360 degree video game display onto all four of your walls, encompassing you in the game and making your room into the game environment.  It tracks furniture positions and adjusts the projection to visually eliminate them from the environment.

Thanks to science, we are one step closer to creating the Holodeck.   I’m so excited that this is happening in my lifetime.  I think it’s something that every gamer has dreamed of at least once in his or her childhood.  The project is estimated to be under construction for another few years.  In the meantime, you can start working on your startle response so you don’t wet yourself when Left 4 Dead’s Hunter pops out from behind your bed.

Here’s some more technical context for the ‘Immersive Display Experience”  (Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.)

A data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by a logic subsystem is provided. The instructions are configured to output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image.

An interactive computing system configured to provide an immersive display experience within a display environment, the system comprising: a peripheral input configured to receive depth input from a depth camera; a primary display output configured to output a primary image to a primary display device; an environmental display output configured to output a peripheral image to an environmental display; a logic subsystem operatively connectable to the depth camera via the peripheral input, to the primary display via the primary display output, and to the environmental display via the environmental display output; and a data-holding subsystem holding instructions executable by the logic subsystem to: within the display environment, track a user position using the depth input received from the depth camera, and output a peripheral image to the environmental display for projection onto an environmental surface of the display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image and shields a portion of the user position from light projected from the environmental display.

[0002] An immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user. The peripheral images serve as an extension to a primary image displayed on a primary display.

[0003] This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Furthermore, the claimed subject matter is not limited to implementations that solve any or all disadvantages noted in any part of this disclosure.

Source: US Patent via WP7’s site.


“Some people call it leaning forward as opposed to leaning back” and Google’s 6 Levels of Engagement

How do we create successful media in the 21st century? Ken Auletta’s book Googled  provides some insight.  I found it relevant not only because the book is a fantastic peek into Google’s inner workings, but because, as you might imagine, it necessitates interactivity.

Albie Hecht, founder of Spike TV, former president of Nickelodeon, and current CEO mogul of Worldwide Biggies uses six criteria for selecting media projects.  Referred to at Worldwide Biggies as the “Six Levels of Engagement,” meeting four of the below criteria suggests a promising project while meeting all of the criteria indicates a “hit.” The following content comes directly from Albie Hecht’s words as printed in Googled (Auletta, p.146).

1. Watch (on any device)

2. Learn (by searching for information about it on the Web)

3. Play (games)

4. Connect (social networks, IM)

5. Collect (microtransactions involving money on the Web)

6. Create (user-generated content)

It is no coincidence that this passage comes before Auletta introduces Google’s 2006 YouTube acquisition for $1.65 billion: YouTube emphasizes all of these criteria, despite the fact that many cable networks doubted and condemned Google’s plan as a failed revenue-maker.

To go into detail here, YouTube let’s you:

1. Watch on computers, smart phones, tablets, and GoogleTV (but not Roku, a decision made by Google themselves)

2. Learn by easily searching (convenient with Google) for YouTube videos. Also, YouTube videos pop up in search results when searching how-to’s and instructional videos.

3. Play: while to my knowledge YouTube doesn’t host interactive videos in the same spectrum as Vimeo’s Old Spice Muscle Music guy [yet], you can create playlists, subscribe, watch trailers for games, watch game walk-throughs, and browse videos in the “Gaming” section.  There’s also an aspect of playfulness in the user-generated annotations.

4. Connect via sharing videos, playlists, creating video responses to other users and videos, and of course, the comment section.  The comment section needs attention as it’s filled with racism, discrimination, rudeness, and sometimes, just plain evil.  Is Google YouTube responsible for their user’s comments? To some degree.  While free speech censorship is a violation of Google’s policy, the sheer number of hate-speech comments is beyond the scope of their user-managed offensive content removal strategy.

5. Collect revenue by selling Ad space not only on the pages, but on the videos themselves either in commercial form (such as Vevo) or lower-third pop ups, which you can close but not prevent.

6. Create user-generated content: well this one’s easy!  Users upload all sorts of home and mobile videos, video blogs, and karaoke recordings that go viral and even skyrocket people to fame.  Did YouTube ever think they would be responsible for Justin Bieber? I would like to know.

Lastly, I wanted to apply these to the Draw Something app, but I’ll let the readers think about that one for now.