The Walt Disney Company has a lot of things going for it: theme parks, merchandise, and an ever-expanding media empire. If one of their newest patents is developed, we could see all three of those assets combined into interactive attractions at some point in the future.
A patent application filed on January 11th by Disney Enterprises, Inc. titled “Location-Based Experience with Interactive Merchandise” joins Disney toys with super powered gameplay. Here are the basics:
“is provided in a light-controlled setting where the game-players may wear or hold one or more of various toys (e.g., gloves). The system detects and recognizes the toy along with gestures and pointing efforts performed by the game-player and the system generates an effect based on the type of toy and the type of gesture. The system also generates one or more visual targets that are visible to the game-player such as projections, holograms, and displays of one or more of various fantasy virtual adversaries. The generated effects may include any combination of sensory effects including visual, audio, tactile, and smell/taste. The generated effect may be directed based on the pointing efforts of the game-player. The system may then register the effect on the target, if the pointing efforts intersect with the virtual location of the target.”
So imagine you have purchased a set of Disney Iron Man gauntlets. You could bring said gloves to the Disney location where the game/attraction is and be ready to play. During the game, projections or displays of evil robots might pop up; as you point your gauntlets in their direction and fire, they appear to explode.
Although that was hypothetical, when considering the massive amount of super powered property Disney has the rights to, they have plenty to work with. Spider-Man’s webs, a jedi’s “force push”, Elsa’s ice-powers; the list is massive. An example given in the patent describes ice-powers:
“The system could generate an image of a stream of ice particles along the pointing direction from the game-player. The system could further determine if the pointing direction (vector) intersects with (or comes within some predetermined distance of) one of the visual targets. If so, the displayed image of the target could be changed to show the result of the ‘freezing’ magic powers being directed at the target–example, the virtual adversary could be shown as encased in ice and immobilized.”
The patent doesn’t just cover the point and shoot aspects of the idea, either. Here are a few notable details:
- The toys used may be recognized by the game system, and referenced to the player (type, color, etc.).
- Gloves are just the primary example; the patent also mentions clothing, headwear, carry-able items, and mobile devices.
- The toys/system could store information on the player’s game history, remembering previous experiences and catering games to the player personally.
- Given different merchandise options or personalized settings, players could conceivably play a game where they each possess different abilities.
- The interactive experience would not only involve visual stimulation; sounds, smells, and haptic feedback are mentioned as well.
It is always important to note that the existence of a patent does not guarantee its use. Disney applies for numerous patents for a multitude of reasons, so this is in no way a sure thing. That fact doesn’t stop the imagination from running wild though. With all of the super powered potential under the Disney umbrella, this system could lead to some truly enjoyable experiences.
Here are a few images from the patent which display elements of the system itself:
Source/Images: United States Patent and Trademark Office