Microsoft have taken more steps towards making Star Trek’s Holodeck a reality in more recently discovered patent applications.


The first patent application, for what Microsoft calls the “Immersive Display Experience“, is for a 360 degree projection device that plugs into the (presumably next-gen) Xbox and projects videogames’ environments all around the room. Here is an illustration from the patent documents, you can click on it for a larger image:



Kinect 3?

Although Kinect is used with the device the patent application says the device itself could also have its own depth sensor and possibly RGB cam that can scan 360 degrees so it can scan the whole room including what’s behind the device, unlike Kinect, so that it can not only calculate the size and shape of the room but so it can also apply distortion correction (and colour correction, if it includes an RGB cam) on the projected image when there are objects in the room such as furniture. Scanning and tracking by either the device or Kinect will also be used to mask the player so that images aren’t projected onto the player or shine in their eyes. Plus either the device or Kinect could be used to track the player’s eyes so that it can create stereoscopic 3D images without the need for 3D glasses as it can display each image at positions where each eye sees a separate image. It also says that they may incorporate the device in a Kinect. Kinect 3?!

Here are illustrations from the patent documents illustrating the player masking, click for larger images:

More images can be seen in the gallery below and in the “US Patent & Trademark Office (Immersive Display Experience)” source link along with the full patent application for further explanations of the device.



PHOTOREPRESENTATIVE VIEW (Augmented Reality Glasses)

Microsoft gave the second patent application the rather convoluted title “Theme-Based Augmentation Of Photorepresentative View“. It’s a patent for AR glasses that would allow players to have similar experiences as they would have with the projection device in the first patent application as it could display graphics so that they would appear to the player to cover some or all of the real environment they’re in with videogames’ virtual environments. But as well as that the AR glasses would also be able to display characters and objects so that they would appear to the player to be in 3D space in front of them like a hologram, not just projected onto surfaces like the previous device.

When combined with Kinect (2) to interact with the displayed graphics the possibilities are mindblowing! It could theoretically be fairly close to Star Trek’s Holodeck, just without the physicality since it’s currently impossible to make transported matter, replicated matter, tractor beams, and shaped force fields to project holograms (or overlay graphics via AR) on, lol! Plus of course even the next-gen Xbox is highly unlikely to be able to render 100% photo-realistic people.

Like the previous device the AR glasses could also include their own depth sensor and RGB cam for further scanning and tracking abilities.

Here are illustrations from the patent application for more info, click on pics for larger images:



The AR glasses patent application is also strong evidence that the leaked “Xbox 720” documents are real as they had AR glasses codenamed “Fortaleza” (which happens to be a place in Brazil, just like “Natal”) which according to the documents Microsoft plans to release for the next-gen Xbox in 2014, a year after the documents say the next-gen Xbox itself is planned to be released in 2013. I won’t post anything from the documents themselves as Microsoft usually make websites take them down, so I’ll include a re-creation of a couple of pics using mainly clip art that you can click on for larger images. The actual original images from the leaked documents can be seen here and here.


More images can be seen in the gallery below and in the “US Patent & Trademark Office (AR Glasses)” source link along with the full patent application for further explanations of the device.


I don’t know if Microsoft are planning to release both of these devices or just one of them since the AR glasses seem to give the player a similar but even better experience than the “Immersive Display Experience” device because  for one thing surely the projector device would require a dark room to work properly? Plus the AR glasses allow characters and objects to appear in 3D space and will probably look solid. The downside of the AR glasses of course are that you would need a pair for each player if playing multi-player games.

If you could only buy 1 of the devices which one would you prefer?


Source: US Patent & Trademark Office (Immersive Display Experience), US Patent & Trademark Office (AR Glasses), Via: Spong
Thanks to 123KINECT visitor Yaniv Cogan for submitting this news!