Walt Disney Co. was granted a patent for creating a virtual world simulator within their real-world parks by the U.S. government on Dec. 28th. The patent allows Disney to create virtual experiences in its theme parks and other properties.
Accordingly, the patent means visitors could soon be viewing virtual objects while strolling through Disneyland, essentially merging reality with simulations. “They want to turn a real-world venue into a virtual world simulation,” patent and technology adviser at Founders legal, John DeStefano, told Spectrum News 1.
Yuri Eliezer, a patent attorney, were able to view the patent recently. Eliezer believes the patent brings Disney closer to the creation of the company’s metaverse.Many companies are joining the metaverse as it proves to be a lucrative industry. “There’s a growing ecosystem and land grab of patents. Everyone is trying to get their own piece of this metaverse.” Eliezer said, according to Spectrum News 1.
Disney’s Virtual World Simulator
Disney’s patent details the company’s plans to build a virtual world simulator in various locations within parks. A hardware processor, tracking system and handheld device will make up the simulator. According to the patent, the handheld device will pair to the computing platform for use in the real world. As visitors move through the space, animations will display on physical objects around them.
Today’s projectors display an image on a flat surface that looks the same regardless of viewing angle. However, Disney plans to apply virtual images to three-dimensional items within its parks. The company will use multiple projectors to do so, allowing the image to shift realistically when the viewing angle alters.
Disney has a history of incorporating new tech into its theme parks whenever possible. The company, having accumulated over 300 patents since its conception, built the first Audio-Animatronics in the 1960s. Projection mapping technology was used in a former firework display in Disneyland. Animated images were projected on buildings throughout the park as fireworks blasted above.
Due to the pandemic, Disney chose to adapt this tech, creating The Disney Genie+. The Disney Genie+, an advanced day planner, uses artificial intelligence and AR technologies. Likewise, Disney will create even more immersive experiences for guests with the new patent.
The patent also details Disney’s plans to create handheld devices to display virtual images. This differs from augmented reality since Disney will project images into the room as opposed to appearing through a device.
“Rather than look through a phone screen or a headset, Disney developed a system almost similar to a movie projector to project on a real surface what humans see on a screen. It’s more real-world experience rather than looking at it through a phone.” DeStefano said. Unlike VR headsets, multiple guests will share in the virtual experience. With this new tech, Disneyworld guests could find their surroundings are entirely virtual.
Header Credit: Jayme McColgan