Microsoft may have just wowed your imagination when it revealed more details about its HoloLens
virtual augmented reality headset at BUILD 2015 last week, but there’s one virtual dream you can already make reality right here, right now. Microsoft has just unleashed the RoomAlive toolkit on GitHub, allowing anyone and everyone, with the proper tools and propensity for programming of course, to create their own interactive rooms complete with projection mapping and motion sensing. Aside from so me programming chops, all you need are some Kinects and some projectors. Yes, plural.
Last October, Microsoft Research revealed its RoomAlive project that created a sort of “Holodeck” (Star Trek fans, start drooling) using nothing but off the shelf Microsoft Kinects and some projectors. The idea was that the setup would analyze the layout of the room, project the virtual reality world onto it, and Kinect would then be able to do what it does best: interpret your body movement and gestures into actions.
That is, of course, an oversimplification of the whole setup and setting up requires a bit of work. Fortunately, Microsoft is providing some tutorials on how to get things up and running. At least, that’s the idea. For now, only a 1×1 setup tutorial is available, that is using one Kinect and one projector, which Microsoft believes will be the most popular setup. This is definitely no beginner project, but then again no beginner immediately jumps into something complicated, not to mention potentially expensive.
Microsoft isn’t pouring too much attention into RoomAlive, and much of its resources is probably being diverted to HoloLens. At the same time, however, it seems that Microsoft is quite heavily invested in this kind of experience. It isn’t surprising, then, that Redmond is delegating the duty of growing RoomAlive up to hackers and makers. The RoomAlive toolkit is available on GitHub with a liberal MIT open source license. Of course, you’ll need Visual Studio (2013) and the Microsoft Kinect v2 SDK, neither of which are open source.