Be still, our Star Trek-loving hearts! Microsoft has reportedly filed a patent for some kind of technological equipment that looks a lot like the experience offered by the holodecks onboard the starship Enterprise. For those not in the Star Trek: The Next Generation (and later Trek iterations), these were essentially empty rooms that could be programmed with any experience the user wanted, including who they wanted there and in what setting. A fantastical scientific future — and maybe now close to reality.
Microsoft’s patent filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “an interactive computing system configured to provide an immersive display experience” sounds a whole lot like “holodeck” to me, and would likely be played using something like the Xbox. The Kinect already senses movement, and this sounds like the next step in that techonology.
Notes NBC News (with a h/t to Patently Apple as well), the patent reads: “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.”
Which means you’ll be focused on what’s in front of you on the wall and/or TV but there’s going to be stuff going on all around you as you play. That bad guy sneaking up behind you will be detectable when you physically whirl around to dispose of him.
The technology included in the patent runs from the actual game console, a device to project the game’s images around the room, a depth camera to detect how large a room is and a tracking device so the game knows where you are.
There may or may not be 3-D headgear involved. We’d be fine with either way because wearing something over the eyes would make us feel even more like Geordi La Forge.
Is Microsoft making a gaming holodeck for your home? [NBC News]
Microsoft Envisions Where Gaming is going, and it’s Wild! [Patently Apple]