Microsoft has filed a patent for a future-generation gaming system which could theoretically bring the HoloDeck from Star Trek to life.
Drawings from the patent show a game being projected on the walls of a room, extending the edge of a display beyond the television.
The patent describes a way to create "an immersive display environment is provided to a human user by projecting a peripheral image onto environmental surfaces around the user".
It could allow users to see enemies sneaking up behind them by physically turning around.
The patent says: "Even when focused on the display, the user may perceive architectural and decorative feature of the room the display is in... such features are typically out of context with respect to the displayed image, muting the entertainment potential."
The patent shows a player standing in the middle of a room, arms raised as if participating in a game via the Kinect camera system.
The player appears to be able to aim off-screen, and take in details of the game-world by images projected outside the television screen.
In the patent Microsoft adds that "it will be appreciated that suitable 3-D displays may be used without departing from the scope of the invention".
There is speculation that the device could show up in a future Xbox - possibly even the supposed 'Xbox 720' currently in development. But Microsoft has issued no comment, and ideas such as this can often turn up in patents years before appearing on the market - if at all.
Other companies including Sony, Epson and Oculus and currently building solutions for a next-generation of virtual reality headsets and gaming devices.
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