Projected Reality – Outdoors and In

By Fred Abler

Artists have discovered powerful video projectors, and the conflict-of-perception between a projected image and its underlying ‘canvas’ has never been greater.  A new genre of art uses architecture-as-canvas, and is loosely known as Urban Projection Mapping.


Fig- 1   What if buildings could dream? That’s the question Urban Screen asked themselves when creating this installation at 555 Kubik – the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Urban Projection Mapping are buildings brought to life by enterprising artists using powerful video projection equipment, and a lot of imagination. At the moment, Urban Screen are the go-to-gurus of Urban Projection Mapping. Their website is a must see.

However the power of projection has not gone unnoticed by tech companies. And Microsoft recently filed a patent to bring projected reality indoors – creating the equivalent of the StarTrek ‘Holodeck’ by adding projectors to its future XBox Kinect Platform.

After using the Kinect sensor to live-map your room, a range of video projectors will overlay an immersive 3D world – over your entire living room. Why just turn on the TV, when you’re whole room can be the display? The kinect will of course track your body and let you control the gameplay.

Fig 3.  Microsoft Patent Application drawing for “Holodeck” style interaction using the Kinect and multiple video projectors.

The most likely consequence of Room Projection Mapping will be a new trend for all-white furniture and walls. Not only will this maximize the Xbox projection potential, it may also lead to a new genre of interior design – ephemeral ‘mood interiors’ that are projected.

Fig 3 – Mr.  Beam Living Room Projection. Projected Interior designs on white furniture, furnishings and walls.

In Short –  Projected light is fast becoming an additive reference layer for 3D artists and designers.

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Read more:

  • Urban Screen
  • When Buildings Come Alive – 10 unreal Urban Projection Mapping Videos – TheCoolist
  • Microsoft files patent to bring Star Wars “Holodek” to future Xbox Consoles – DailyMail
  • Living Room Projection – Mr. Beam
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