In January 2013, Microsoft Research first showed off IllumiRoom at CES. The concept was for a future game console to project images from a game outside the television in order to give users a more immersive experience. Now Microsoft has used the basic concept of projecting content to other parts of a room in a new project called SurroundWeb.
The Microsoft Research website has posted a new video today showing off SurroundWeb. It uses a combination of depth cameras, tablets and projectors in a room which not only displays web-based content on walls and tables, but allow the user to interact with that information. For example, if a person takes a soda can and places it on a table in that room, a projected notification will pop up on the table showing how many calories the soda has.
In another example, a gamer could be playing Forza Motorsport 5 on his Xbox One and see stats from real pro racers projected on top of the television. A chat screen could be placed on the right side of the TV, while images of what's currently playing on other television channels could be shown on the left.
The SurroundWeb concept could also be used in other rooms of the house, like the kitchen, to display a recipe so that a person can quickly look at what they need to do next. Microsoft claims that none of the information projected in rooms is actually sent back to the website itself, making this concept very secure to use.
As with many Microsoft Research projects, it will likely be years before we see something like SurroundWeb released commercially. However, there are many practical applications for this kind of experience -- and hopefully Microsoft will continue with their research into new areas of web-based content and interaction.