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Microsoft Moves to Patent the Holodeck

This is a few months old, but - wow! Awesome!

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/09/microsoft-patent-shows...

A newly published patent application shows Microsoft potentially planning to take console gaming beyond the barriers of the TV screen by projecting a "peripheral image" around a room, providing a 360-degree view of a virtual scene.

Microsoft's patent application for an "immersive display experience" was published by the US Patent Office last week after being filed back in early 2011. It describes a standard video game system with a connected "environmental display" capable of projecting a panoramic image that "appears to surround the user."

Such a projector wouldn't replace the central TV display used in current consoles, but it would provide a "peripheral image" that would "serve as an extension" of that primary display. The purpose, of course, is to extend the gaming environment outside of the TV screen, so a player could, for instance, "turn around and observe an enemy sneaking up from behind."

The display device as described is integrated tightly with a depth-sensing camera system (read: Kinect) that could even be housed in the same casing as the environmental projector, according to the application. This device could be a standard two-camera, structured-light-sensing system like the current Kinect, or a more sophisticated model that could include "multiple image capture devices" to "stitch a panoramic image from a plurality of captured images" pointed in all directions around the room.

More: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/09/microsoft-patent-shows...