Ask any fan of science fiction if they have read Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man. If they have, ask them to recount the short story entitled The Veldt, in which a nursery for kids, featuring walls that are screens, becomes a grisly tale of the edges of the human psyche. Walls as screens also figure in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, for what it’s worth.

How does all of this fit into Microsoft and its new patent? Well, take a gander at the following image, found by Ars Technica in a recently approved patent for the Redmond-based software giant:

mspatent 640x391 520x317 Microsofts patent for a 3D holodeck is all sorts of (awesome) Ray Bradbury fanfiction

Awesome, right? Well, not if you are one of the parents in The Veldtbut that’s a different story. Here’s what we have: Patent number 20120223885, “IMMERSIVE DISPLAY EXPERIENCE.” Roughly, the idea builds on the concept of extending a traditional gaming setup of a single monitor, to include:

an immersive display experience within a display environment, the instructions configured to: output a primary image to a primary display for display by the primary display, and output a peripheral image to an environmental display for projection by the environmental display on an environmental surface of a display environment so that the peripheral image appears as an extension of the primary image, the peripheral image having a lower resolution than the primary image.

The peripheral image, the patent application goes on to say, “is configured so that, to a user, the peripheral image appears to surround the user when projected by the environmental display.” Take another look at the above image, it will make more sense.

This is interesting not because TNW expects Microsoft to build the above product any time soon, if at all. Instead, it’s an interesting windows in Microsoft’s gaming mindset. Deeply mentioned in the patent is the Kinect, or what is referred to as a “depth camera.” Given that the next Xbox is due next year, any clue as to what Microsoft has in mind matters. And, of course, it’s important to know what zany thought Microsoft is having. Difficult to parse from the patent is exactly how the peripheral image on the environmental display would be displayed.

Finally, you know that you want to play with that sucker, don’t you?

Top Image Credit: Geoffrey Fairchild