Microsoft patents full-room 'immersive display'

Microsoft took a bold (if uneven) step into motion gaming with the Kinect, and a new patent suggests it's looking into more ways to imitate science-fiction. The patent for an "immersive display experience" would project a panoramic view around the user to augment the picture found on-screen.

Ars Technica reports that the display would work with a depth-sensing camera like Kinect. The result would be an image projected onto the walls of your room, with the Kinect doing the heavy lifting in terms of determining depth. It could even judge the topography of the room, so objects like furniture could be compensated for with color and distortion tricks.

You could, for example, turn around to see an enemy behind you. Of course, the patent concedes that image projected "may be displayed at a lower resolution" than the image on your TV screen. As always, keep in mind that a patent doesn't guarantee a product will ever come to market, so this may be the last we hear of it.

The report cheekily refers to this as the Holodeck from Star Trek, but this is more a half-step in that direction than a full one. It wouldn't project 3D objects in the room, and the projection wouldn't look photo-realistic. But as an interesting piece of tech with the backing of a hardware giant, this could be worth watching.