Disney Patents Bringing Magical Metaverse Experiences Into Parks
By Alexa Heah, 10 Jan 2022
In November, there were rumors that the “Happiest Place on Earth” could expand to the metaverse. Now, more evidence has come out supporting the theory, as fans of Disney Parks could soon experience attractions together augmented reality (AR), without the need for headsets.
As per records at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Disney Enterprises had been granted a patent for a “virtual-world simulator” at the end of last year, a technology allowing 3D images and virtual effects to be projected onto physical spaces.
Interestingly, instead of projecting AR experiences for the masses, Insider reported that the company plans to use the technology for personalized projections. For example, one family could interact with a projection of Mickey Mouse upon entering the theme park, while another visitor could mingle with their favorite princess at the castle.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during an earnings call that the new technology would enable the brand to continue its mission of telling stories, this time through a “three-dimensional canvas.”
“Our efforts to date are merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse,” Chapek explained.
The LA Times posited that visitors could be tracked via their smartphones or a park-issued device, thus allowing the projections to “follow” them through the theme parks. If guests respond favorably to these 3D projections, Disney could potentially do away with animatronic characters or actors in costumes altogether.
Alas, before we get too excited about interacting with our favorite Disney characters, a spokesperson said the firm “files hundreds of patents each year as we explore developing technologies.”
“We are excited about the possibilities related to this type of technology,” the spokesperson said, emphasizing that “there are no current plans to introduce this technology into an upcoming experience.”
Could these personalized projections become reality? We’ll find out soon enough!
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