Disney is one step closer to transforming Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort into an immersive “metaverse” that could be a gamechanger in theme park technology.
The Orange County Register first reported that the Walt Disney Company was approved for a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on December 28 for a “Virtual World Simulator” that will simulate a digital world with animated characters in a real-world theme park attraction without the need for any glasses, goggles, or smartphones.
Disney’s Virtual World Simulator creates a realistic and highly-immersive 3D virtual experience without requiring the user to wear an AR headset or use an AR-enabled smartphone, the patent says.
A description from the patent reads:
In augmented reality (AR), the appearance of a real-world environment can be digitally modified to provide a user with the sensation of engaging with a virtual-world. AR is increasingly used to produce entertainment experiences that are more immersive and engaging. Moreover, AR can be used to modify images of the real-world through augmentation in ways that have practical applications. Nevertheless, a user wishing to enjoy or otherwise utilize a virtual environment generated using AR must typically view real-world objects through the viewport of an AR enabled personal device, such as AR glasses or goggles, an AR headset, or a suitably configured smartphone or tablet computer, in order to see those real-world objects overlaid by virtual projections. Moreover, conventional approaches to generating AR imagery produce two-dimensional (2D) digital augmentations to three-dimensional (3D) real-world objects.
Despite their inability to provide a true 3D virtual experience, AR glasses, goggles, and headsets can be costly and inconvenient to wear. In addition, the increased concern over the spread of communicable disease will likely mandate burdensome sanitation procedures in usage environments in which wearable AR viewing equipment is shared by multiple users. Furthermore, requiring the use of an AR enabled personal device to enjoy a virtual environment effectively precludes multiple users from sharing the same experience. Consequently, there is a need in the art for a solution enabling one or more users to experience an immersive simulation of a 3D virtual-world that is accurately rendered according to the vantage point of each user.
These 3D virtual effects could be used in real-world venues– like Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort– and could include animated characters along with simulated objects, props, artwork, and much more.
Founders Legal patent and technology technical adviser John DeStefano said these effects will be achieved through projectors that arecompletely and totally immersive.
“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,” DeStefano told Spectrum News. “It’s more real-world experience rather than looking at it through a phone.”
Disney has been experimenting with VR and AR experiences for several years, like at the Star Wars: Tales From Galaxy’s Edge VR experience in Downtown Disney and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance through the innovative projector technology experienced on the ride and in the line queue, but this will seemingly be a step up from anything we’ve seen in the Disney Parks thus far.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of the technology and how this might be used at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.
What do you think of this new patent that has been approved for Disney?