Disney’s New Technology Patents and What They Mean
The Walt Disney Company’s filing for a US Patent and Trademark on a new piece of technology at the end of July is not a story that made the 11:00 news. In reality, when is the last time you heard about a company- Disney or otherwise- making the news simply because they filed a patent? Even the most avid Disney fans would have had to do some digging to make sense of their latest trademarked tech, and although we’ve put our research caps on, the speculation and questions are still swirling because when Disney wants to be secretive, there is no way of stopping them. Here’s what we know about the new technology patents:
Spacial Free-Form Interactive Speakers
A few months ago, Disney filed a patent with US Patent and Trademark for what they’re calling “spacial free-form interactive speakers” which to the average Joe like me means absolutely nothing. Reading the (very little) information provided by that patent deal, Mickey Blog has gathered that the new technology will allow Disney to place very small, almost unnoticeable speakers onto everyday objects that would give the allusion that sound was emanating from the object itself- as if it were talking.
Digging deeper into the announcement led me to an archived webpage from 2014 that detailed the original ideation of the technology. The company states: “We present freeform interactive speakers for creating spatial sound experiences from a variety of surfaces. Traditional surround sound systems are widely used and consist of multiple electromagnetic speakers that create point sound sources within a space.
Our proposed system creates directional sound and can be easily embedded into architecture, furniture, and many everyday objects.” Hmm. Interesting. The patent announcement also stated that the speaker systems will be produced in a variety of sizes, and that all will be lightweight and flexible, making their versatility a huge advantage for the company. So based on that description and the rendered photo, what does it mean?
New Tech Means New…Everything?
No one, except probably the Imagineers, are exactly sure how to integrate this new piece of technology into the Disney scope, but when I hear the words “variety of surfaces” and “directional sound” and “easily embedded”, one thought comes to mind: attractions. Imagine if the Shaman of Songs’ singing were actually coming from her lips?
What if a speaker could be fitted into the very audio-animatronic figures we see in the existing attractions? Or better yet, what if this new technology could be planted into the mask of a Kylo Ren or under the makeup of Darth Maul who roams freely around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? That type of interaction would be completely unprecedented, and I believe that Disney is well on the way to developing all-new experiences for guests that will be unlike anything they have ever experienced not only in a theme park, but on the planet.
Will we see this new technology implemented for Walt Disney World’s big 50th anniversary in a little over a years’ time? No other than Mickey knows for sure. Hey speaking of Mickey…remember that new attraction that’s supposed to be opening in the Chinese Theatre at Hollywood Studios? The one that will feature Mickey Mouse for the first time in Disney Parks history?
It’s soon-to-be existence is heavily overshadowed by Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, but since the designers behind the attraction promise that it will be one of the most technologically advanced attractions to ever hit a Disney Park, I wouldn’t be surprised to see new pieces of technology like the spacial free-form speakers utilized in new projects like this. At the end of the day, it’s all a big rumor for now, and we want to know your thoughts! What do you think Disney will use this new technology for? If you were them, what would you do with these new technology permits? Let us know in the comments below!
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