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News Microsoft unveils IllumiRoom gaming technology

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 10 Jan 2013.

  1. Prowler_88

    Prowler_88 New Member

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    Because we all like to play games in well lit rooms :duh:

    Gaming and watching films are why we switch the lights off!
     
  2. Tattysnuc

    Tattysnuc Thinking about which mod to do 1st.

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    Am very impressed with this as a working concept. Hope you can use any projector to do this, and not just HD projectors - then I might be able to upgrade our main projector and then commandeer the old one for this sort of thing....
     
  3. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    So you only do those things in the evening? :eyebrow:
     
  4. Mechh69

    Mechh69 I think we can make that fit

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    Why so much negativity? I think that it shows that MS is looking for a way to enhance your gaming experience. I would think that this is still in the development stages and that if it comes to market that it will be much improved. It's like saying that playing a game on multiple monitors is a gimmick, multiple monitors can get very expensive especially when they are 30" or above as well as a multi-GPU set up to run them. So I don't see your point about the expense or it not being perfect ATM.
     
  5. DriftCarl

    DriftCarl Member

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    I like it,
    I imagine it will really be for the next xbox, which should have more than enough power to do this sort of thing.
    My TV is in the middle of a large white wall above my fireplace, so I can only imagine how good this will look.
    Hopefully not just limited to the front wall, but would have a curve projection so it hits the side walls too. being able to spot explosions in the corner of my eye and then focusing my crosshairs on the screen to that point to have a proper look.

    It is just a stepping stone to a more VR system in my opinion though, when people get use to their whole room becoming the screen, they are more likely to move onto a full VR headset when one comes out.
     
  6. ModSquid

    ModSquid Member

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    I don't care who thought of it first. If Microsoft can get it to market at the right price and especially if they can make it work with my 360, I can see my missus coming home to a bigger shock than the time she caught me in bed with all three of her sisters :)
     
  7. PingCrosby

    PingCrosby New Member

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    Oh yes,
     
  8. AiA

    AiA Member

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  9. Stonewall78

    Stonewall78 New Member

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    More nerds like me sitting at home alone in the dark...
     
  10. Kacela

    Kacela New Member

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    What a dumb name; it sounds like something Willy Wonka came up with... Cool tech, though.
     
  11. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    Some projectors already have this "adapt picture to background", but it's more for presentations than for watching movies.
    If you go to a client and bring your own projector, you can use any wall.

    At home you wouldn't use it. Who spends a fortune on projector-surroundsound-blurayplayer but skimps on a screen?
     
  12. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    Sarcasm aside, you're forgetting the brightness issue. Microsoft is showing it projecting across an entire wall, so you'd need to take that 160nit pico projector and step it back enough to project a larger image say dropping the brightness down by a factor of four to 40nit and that's assuming that your wall and furniture is painted in a nice reflective white paint like Vogel's.

    So in a best case scenario you have your 40nit walls surrounding your 300-500nit screen. Those snowflakes are be going to be looking pretty dim.

    Again I state that this tech demo looks cool but it's totally and utterly impractical for home use. The hardware required would be simply too expensive. And if you've splashed out on a projector bright enough to work you'll have it facing a decent screen and it won't be arranged to project over the furniture.
     
  13. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Don't brush my sarcasm aside: it's my best feature. Also, you wouldn't need to move the projector back far at all: notice I specifically mentioned short-throw. Stick a wide-angle lens on it and you'll get something that covers the wall but is massively fish-eye distorted - something the pre-distortion engine powered by the Kinect system can fix, creating a wall-filling image from a very short distance away.

    As for brightness: the reason pico projectors are so dim isn't so much their size - although that is a limiting factor, as you can only have a light-dump so big in a pocket-size device - but their requirement to run on battery power. A theoretical Xbox 720 IllumiRoom accessory would have no such requirement: it could be powered entirely by the console. If we assume that we also don't mind it being bigger than a normal pico projector, but small enough that it won't be awkward, and factor in the space freed up by not having a battery, there's no reason why you couldn't fit a brighter light source and bigger light dump to boost the brightness considerably.

    In other words: there's absolutely nothing to stop Microsoft launching IllumiRoom as a commercially available product by the end of the year. It requires nothing in the way of technology that we don't already have available. Will Microsoft launch it by the end of the year? Who knows - I certainly don't, and neither do you.

    Here you've completely missed the point - but don't worry, a couple of other people did too. If you have a nice HD projector and a 120in screen, you won't get an IllumiRoom effect: you'll be seeing things from the exact same viewpoint as normal, but bigger. Your field of view does not increase over a gamer with a 38in TV: everything just looks three times the size. IllumiRoom is designed to increase your field of view: the gamers in the video see exactly the same stuff on the 38in TV as the player on his or her 120in projector screen, plus a whole lot more around the sides, top and bottom. That's why it's clever: it gives you in-game peripheral vision, something a bright projector, a decent screen and an Xbox 360 can't offer.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2013
  14. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    Your side-stepping some of the laws of physics I'm afraid and underestimating the laws of economics.

    You're believing that Microsoft can create a projector that outperforms anything that's been seen up to this point?

    If an ultra bright projector could be produced for the money you're talking about then why hasn't any of the projector manufacturers who've been in the business for years been able to do it? What secret do you (and Microsoft) know that the rest of the worlds illumination experts don't know?

    Pico-projectors are dim because to get a bright projector you have to deal with Power + Heat and dealing with those costs. You can't have a bright projector (Even an LED projector) without shifting away a lot of excess heat. And anyone with a PC knows what's needed for a decent cooling system. Bright projectors generate noise because of the cooling they need, you can't ignore cooling. Hey even my 1000lumen LED head torch states it shouldn't be used continuously while stationary due to the heat build up.

    LEDs product a lot less heat than incandescent sources but LEDs still waste between 60% and 90% of their input power as heat, compared to <15% for an incandescent. LEDs waste a higher percentage of their usage but their usage is way way lower so that's mostly okay... until you start going brighter and then heat becomes an issue again...

    Projectors are getting better and cheaper all the time but we're a LONG way off from having a "As bright as a LCD screen" projector available at the prices or sizes you're talking about.

    The cost alone of a LED + Driver circuit + Heatsink + Fan + PSU + Projector panel + Lens + Video circuit puts your material costs beyond the range of an 'XBox Accessory' and that assuming focus is manual, keystone adjustment is software only and MS doesn't want to make a profit.

    If I'm wrong. Show me an example of a commercially available projector that has appropriate brightness, at the price point you're talking about and can maintain that brightness on normal furniture. As I know that nothing exists show me something that's even half way to being suitable.

    As to the whole peripheral vision side of things. This could indeed be replicated without the need to run dual screens. You just use your big-arsed HD projector with a wider in-game FOV and shifted HUD. It's all software at the end of the day you don't need a wide throw projector and a 2nd screen to do this, you can do it with the projector alone.

    I'm not picking a fight here, I'm just a realist. Microsoft weren't demoing an ultra cheap state of the art 'never seen before at this price point' projection technology they were demoing a software + hardware mashup.

    Again I reassert that it's a nice technology demo, but it's impractical for mass adoption due to the hardware requirements being too costly. You say I don't know this, but I do know it. This is based on commonly understood physics and by following how projector technology has progressed in the last few decades.

    Edit: On a side note, I'm not really a projector expert, but I've lived with a few and there was actually a point where I'd sat and watched movies in 30% of the worlds digitally projected cinemas. I know enough to get by and to differentiate between feasible and pipe-dream, but if you know how the issues I've mentioned can be overcome I'm all ears.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2013
  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Who said anything about ultra-bright? The image doesn't have to be HD quality, and it doesn't have to be anywhere near as bright as the LCD - in fact, it's probably better if it isn't. Real peripheral vision is greyscale: your brain just 'paints' it using colours from your centre vision. If IllumiRoom is dim, that's not a problem - because it's still infinitely brighter than having nothing there to see at all.

    You admit you've got a 1,000 lumen head-torch: that's almost twice as bright as the IllumiRoom system would need to be. A quick Google reveals that the recommended minimum projector output for a 60in screen is 160 lumens. Doubling that size to 120in - roughly the size of the projection in the demonstration video, measured by taking the size in pixels of the 11in Kinect sensor you can see in front of the TV to get a pixels-per-inch measurement and then measuring the projected image in pixels - means quadrupling the light output to 640 lumens.

    Now, I believe you just said you had a 1,000 lumen head torch. So, a 640 lumen compact projector would seem perfectly feasible. Heat can be handled with a quiet fan - that's how the Xbox is cooled, after all, so what's another fan? If it's a problem, drop the output a bit: 640 lumen is the recommended brightness for a low-end device projecting to a 120in diagonal, so we can probably drop it to 400 lumen or less and still get an image that looks pretty neat with the lights off. Can't make out fine detail? Who cares? Try reading a book by holding it up to the side of your head and using just your peripheral vision - see how much fine detail you can make out then.

    If you're asking me do I believe Microsoft could produce a single-purpose low-resolution projector with a 400-640 lumen output for an affordable sum, then yes. Yes I do.

    You want >30 lumen for £75? Not happening, I'll grant you. But people seem to be making a nice profit selling 2,700 lumen projectors - way, *way* more than we need here - for £200. That's a retail price, so profit is built in. You can also buy a Kinect for £85, again with profit built-in. So, the two together would be £285 - but the IllumiRoom system would be cheaper, 'cos Microsoft would be willing to take a hit on the hardware, as console makers have been doing for years, to shift more Xbox 720s and, more importantly, more Xbox 720 games. You can drop the price yet more, 'cos it doesn't need to be anywhere near 2,700 lumens - we've established 640 is good enough - and can share components with the Kinect. Heck, even the Kinect portion is cheaper than the £85 retail price, 'cos you don't need all the features of the main Kinect unit: you can ditch the colour camera, the microphone, the motor that lets it track you when you move. Add in the fact that projectors are quite profitable items - they're as expensive as they are because manufacturers know that's what people will pay for a general-purpose projector, which the IllumiRoom isn't - and there's yet more room for trimming fat.

    So, is £160 an unreasonable price point? Possibly, possibly not - but I can't help but think £200 would be easily achievable.

    And watch the quality go to hell. IllumiRoom combines a 1080p TV with a low-resolution projector, giving you the increased field of vision while retaining all 1920x1080 pixels for your main game view. Use an HD projector - about £500 at its cheapest - and you've only got those 1920x1080 pixels to play with. Take a 1/4 chunk out of the middle for your main game view and use the other 3/4 for peripheral vision, and you've reduced the resolution of your main viewing area from 2,073,600 pixels to 518,400. Nice.

    If that wasn't reason enough for not doing it your way, you also have to find room for a 120in screen - like you say, nobody wants to play a game on their bookshelves, however clever the pre-distortion system might be - and another £80 for that. You also won't have any option but to 'go big' - if you're gaming in the daytime, kiss goodbye to being able to see what the hell you're doing 'cos even a 4,000-lumen projector won't make a 120in white display surface look black.

    In short: you appear to be misunderstanding why the IllumiRoom exists as a concept.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2013
  16. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    Never a truer word was said.

    By the way, your "Minimum recommended Lumen" link recommends projects between 700 and 12,000 lumen. I don't believe a <2000 lumen system will be anywhere close to the required brightness. Not at full wall size, through a cheap lens, off a cheap DLP panel, reflecting off the average wall.

    Back to your '160 lumen' example, which your 'quick google' didn't give you the full picture.

    The 160 lumen @ 60" reference you quote is not a 'recommended' table but a modified image from the publicity materials from an Aaxa HS102 Micro Projector (Also available as branded LG). It's not saying 'This is what you need' it's saying 'This is what someone is selling'

    The HS102 is a £450+ 160 lumen projector can indeed display @ 60". But that's a dim image even on a white wall. Double the horizontal size and you knock the brightness back by 75%.

    No way is it suitable for use in this MS demo and it costs way too much.

    And your Benq... you're really quoting end of line discontinued products flogged off on ebay? Okay I'll bite. It's a projector based on incandescent tech which have very short bulb life, and the replacement bulbs are £100+.
    http://compare.ebay.co.uk/like/321014155686?var=lv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&cbt=y

    End of line obsolete tech isn't a good example to base an argument on, or an accurate example of what is possible at a given price point.

    MS would need to produce a really good short throw LED / DLP projector for a fraction of the cost of anyone else has been able to do so. Incandescent projectors won't cut it for cheap home gaming use, everyone knows that bulb degradation and replacement costs can be a killer.

    I say it's not possible for MS to make a system that would sit @ the right price point.

    PS. Yes I have a bright head torch. It's expensive and runs hot. A head torch is basically a bulb, reflector and power/driver circuits. A projector system is a LOT more complex. I was using it as an example that it's indeed possible to drive an LED bright enough but in a projection system you need a very good way to offload heat. You can't just 'keep running through cold air' like I do with my winter head torch.

    This is my final post on this by the way. There's nothing more I can say that isn't retreading the same ground.
     
  17. Bauul

    Bauul Sir Bongaminge

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    I think it looks rather fun personally. Wouldn't work with my set up (I often view my TV down the side of a wall), but it's a clever implementation of Kinect.

    On the whole projectors subject: I don't know much, but every portable projector I've ever used for work (and they're quite small and crap) would be perfectly bright enough to project some sort of image with the lights off.

    Here's a question though: the wall behind my TV is red. Would Kinect be clever enough to alter the colour as well as the angle to produce the correct image?
     
  18. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    My point, thank you: because you're only projecting peripheral images to enhance the immersion, you don't need HD quality or massive brightness - it's not like you're trying to read ten-point Times New Roman from a slide, you're just seeing fire, explosions or what have you out of the corner of your eye. A crappy, cheap projector would be pretty much perfect for this - something my learned friend appears to ignore in his naysaying.
    Should be theoretically possible, although you'd have to put back the colour camera I'd said should be removed to reduce cost...
     
  19. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    They might not be as unnecessary as you think. One method of mapping a 3D environment is called Structured Light Mapping. You project a known patter, capture this pattern, and use the difference between the two to determine the shape of the projection surface (also used in the IR range with a less common speckle pattern for the Kinect's depth sensor). In the common implementation, you iterate over several bars of decreasing width in each orientation (h and v), but using the Kinect's depth sensor you could cut out the first few course iterations and just scan narrow bars over the environment (or grids, to do both the h and v pass at once).
    Why not just use the Kinect's depth sensor? the depth sensor has a resolution of 320x240, whereas the camera has a resolution of 640x480.
     
  20. Bede

    Bede Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely love the look of this. Imo it was at its best in the video during the mariokart section, with snow falling all across the room; it seemed a bit like mood-lighting, but so much better!
     

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