Microsoft developing interactive tablet covers and RoomAlive immersive gaming

Microsoft Research is constantly working on projects that may never actually be released to the public. However, that doesn't mean they are not extremely cool. That's certainly the case with with two recently revealed projects: FlexSense and RoomAlive.

FlexSense centers on a transparent and thin piece of plastic that has sensors on top that can be placed on top of a Windows tablet like a Surface Pro 3 The presentation video shows that FlexSense could offer tablet users some new and innovative ways to interact with apps. For example, placing the cover on the tablet while a photo app is running could allow users to physically peel off the cover to show off the effects of a photo filter. It could also be used as a game controller, a photo editing assistant and more.

The other project is called RoomAlive, which is a revision of a previous Microsoft Research effort called IllumiRoom. Both IllumiRoom and RoomAlive offer gamers a way to see content projected beyond the TV screen and monitor that cover up a room's walls as well.

RoomAlive is an advancement over IllumiRoom in that in addition to displaying game content on walls, it can also allow gamers to interact with elements that are placed in the room. Using a combination of projectors and depth cameras, Microsoft says, "Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content that seamlessly co-exists with their existing physical environment."

While both FlexSense and RoomAlive look and sound impressive, keep in mind that most Microsoft Research projects never make it out of the lab, although some elements of these efforts could be incorporated into future products. What do you think of FlexSense and RoomAlive?

Source: Microsoft Research (opens in new tab), Projection Mapping Central

John Callaham
  • Something to take hands on uhh.
  • Aww mehn...the word "Gaming" sparks me up a lot.
  • Jesus. I want them to release that cover.
  • They make those researches, get the breakthroughs and sell them as patents to whoever can pay.
  • Google x vs Microsoft research.... I have a dream..
  • Did a seems faster comment just disappear!?
  • Seems faster on deleting those stupid post.
  • Room alive thing can arranged in shopping malls and play zones for small kids to play. Or also in movie theatres and 4d movies.
  • View the comment below.
  • Put room-a-live in an arcade...
  • I give it two months before cancelled
  • It's a research, can't be 'canceled'.
  • This is MS at the pace they been going Research will be cancelled.
  • Hater.
  • stop catching feeling. lol
  • when you understand what "Research" is, maybe... just maybe, you would understand your comment is not smart at all.
  • Lmao people in they feeling today.
  • I think this joke stemmed around the fact that Microsoft would "cancel" (wrong word, but the intention is clear) their research department.
  • Put this on 'surface mini'
  • Humbug! Just like the smart watch...just another pointless cash cow. There is a tablet right within the case for what its worth. What can an interactive cover possibly do better? Perhaps it's only me or has the whole world gone mad? @_@
  • U remind of smartwatch? Whens Microsoft smartwatch coming?
  • Microsoft is working with the creators of the hotwatch. Kickstarter orders are starting to ship this month. Mine should be here any day now.
  • McLaren r.i.o.
  • I would love to see them roll with the illumiroom/room alive (let's change the name, though) concepts and pair it up with Kinect on Xbox One. I think this is a much more exciting idea than VR technology like Oculus Rift. I hope they can find a way to make it cheap and affordable to add on to the already existing Xbox One with Kinect.
  • That would be awesome.
  • Would love to see Illumiroom for XB1 for sure... It soo would catapult the XBone over the top and higher.... and would made EVERY game an exclusive to the X1
  • And Wii U.
  • Wii U doesn't have Kinect so that's not going to happen, nevermind that it is a competitor of Microsoft's Xbox.
  • Considering they have already given up on Kinect I find it unlikely.
  • Who said they've up on Kinect? They had two great Kinect games launch last month (D4 and Dance Central Spotlight) and another coming soon (Fantasia), along with quite a few ID@Xbox Kinect games coming soon.
  • I hadn't played a new Kinect game in donkeys, and dance games mean absolutely nothing to me, if I wanted to dance like a twit in my lounge room in more than capable of doing that without paying 100 bucks for the privilege. D4 sounds cool though. Oh, and my previous comment is redundant now anyway as I just got alien isolation and the Kinect features are really good. Although it does suck when I'm hiding under a table then my sister shouts at me for something and as a result whatever I'm hiding from hears it and proceeds to inflict unnecessary pain.
  • Wonder if the flex cover can or could become the next generation surface cover. That way the keyboard can be digital in nature and it can offer more natural interactions that cannot be possible with a normal screen
  • "Magic carpet" it surely made me think about the old game, I used to play it alot. that game with a cover like this would have been nice.
  • Future is now.
  • Thats impossible.
  • RoomAlive would be perfect for my cats.
  • Lol this!
  • Microsoft is building the Danger Room from X-Men?
  • Yes. And no.
  • when interactive cases release for Windows phone. ??
  • I just want to try RoomAlive.
  • Looks a lot like the MS Reasearch projects about 3D sensing on phones. Rip McLaren.
  • Definitely. Good night, sweet prince, McLaren
  • Too bad none of it really comes to fruition....except a few
  • Whatever happened to the "Blade Concept"?
  • Never expected that to to fruition. Just a project for college students. That could had been cool but I don't even think the sales of that DJ attachment was good.
  • Well, damn lol dah well.
  • Sounds interesting, I like all the innovation. Even if it doesn't come to market quite like this reads.
  • Cool
  • Its cool but I don't see enough uses for it to make it profitable.
  • This is what I call spinning in the mud. Why spend all those man hours and expenditures on research just to put it in the trunk under lock and key wasting energy and time.