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Microsoft applies for 3D projection patent

Kinect-compatible tech would show peripheral environments on players' walls

Microsoft has applied for a patent on technology that aims to redefine immersive gaming. Originally filed in March of 2011 and discovered this week by Patently Apple, the patent for an "Immersive Display Experience" details ways the Xbox maker could project a gaming world beyond big-screen TVs and into players' rooms.

Most treatments of the idea described in the application have the environmental display tech used to supplement a primary image of a game displayed on a user's TV. But with the assistance of a depth camera (such as the Kinect), the game system reads the topography and colors of a room, and then uses an "environmental display output" to project extensions of the game world on the room surrounding the player. The patent describes such a device as a pair of wide-angle RGB projectors with a combined 360-degree field.

The projected images are described as lower resolution in the application, suitable to let players spot movement or hazards in their peripheral vision. Additionally, the filing details a number of ways to get around certain drawbacks to the technology. For example, the system could adjust the image it projects so it looks right to the user even when projected across objects in the room of varying shape and color.

Additionally, the 360-degree display unit could work with the depth camera to avoid shining light in users' eyes or distracting them with moving images projected onto their bodies. Microsoft also specified that its patent would cover the use of the technology with stereoscopic 3D images, whether or not it uses glasses or head-mounted displays.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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