When Microsoft unveiled its original Illumiroom project at the beginning of 2013 the company was yet to unveil its Xbox One next generation console (still being dubbed Xbox 720 at the time). The concept, shown at CES in Las Vegas at the time, allowed the game screen to expand through the use of projectors.

They projected additional graphics onto the walls around a TV to open the playing field somewhat - sort of a more interactive Philips Ambilight experience.

However, it was seemingly shelved and was most definitely not part of the Xbox One package when that finally arrived towards the end of the year.

Now the concept has returned with gusto. Instead of simply expanding the playing field around a TV to widen the view, Illumiroom 2 or RoomAlive as it's now called turns the entire living room into an interactive game.

RoomAlive uses six Kinects and projector depth-camera units (procams) to map every square inch of the room and subsequently project images onto objects it knows are there. The whole room therefore becomes an interactive display.

As well as built a detailed and accurate 3D model of your room in the computer, the system tracks a user's head position around the room. It can then render a view-dependent projection that has the appearance of 3D. While only a 2D image, it will change in perspective as the user moves their head.

The games that can be developed using such a system can also take into account objects held by the user, such as a gun. This can then be used to blast enemies or the like that appear in the projections.

Unfortunately, like the original Illumiroom concept, RoomAlive is only in the prototype stage at the moment and simply envisions one future for interactive gaming. However, it could be developed further in the next few years, so watch this space.

Sections Microsoft Games