US grants patent to Disney for virtual world simulator

ANAHEIM, CA – At Disneyland you can find Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and maybe soon a Virtualland.


What would you like to know

  • On December 28, the US Patent Office granted The Walt Disney Co. a patent to create a virtual world simulator in a real location.
  • The patent could mean the creation of a virtual theme park or similar type of immersive digital experience inside a Disney theme park or Disney property.
  • Disney has over 300 patents
  • The patent also states that Disney plans to create a portable device like a flashlight that can light up a surface to view animated objects.

Imagine the next time you walk into Disneyland and see a virtual Mickey Mouse and Pluto playing fetch in Toontown. Perhaps you can see the enchanted rose from “Beauty in the Beast” from all angles hovering in front of you or watch Walt Disney waving to the crowd from his second-floor apartment above the Town Square fire station.

Disney plans to create a virtual reality space where people interact in a digitally simulated environment.

On December 28, the United States Patent Office granted The Walt Disney Co. a patent to create what Disney describes as a virtual world simulator in a real location. (Courtesy of the United States Patent Office)

On December 28, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted The Walt Disney Co. a patent to create what Disney describes as a virtual world simulator in a real location. The patent could mean creating a virtual experience inside a Disney theme park or Disney property.

“They want to turn a real-world location into a virtual world simulation,” said John DeStefano, patent and technology technical advisor at Founders Legal. The Atlanta-based business law firm specializes in intellectual property and represents leading technology companies.

Founders Legal does not represent Disney in the patent. DeStefano and patent attorney Yuri Eliezer studied the recently approved Disney patent.

Disney officials did not return a request for comment from Spectrum News at the time of publication.

(Courtesy of the United States Patent Office)

Eliezer said Disney’s new patent sets the company in motion in creating its own metaverse.

“A lot of companies are heading into the metaverse,” said Eliezer, partner and patent attorney at Founders Legal. “There is a growing ecosystem and a patent grab. Everyone is trying to get their own share of this metaverse. “

It’s no surprise that Disney has joined the ranks of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, among many other tech companies, to jump on the so-called metaverse.

The metaverse is defined as a digital ecosystem designed to simulate our real world environment, said Yuri Eliezer, partner and patent attorney at Founders Legal.

“It is not just a graphical representation of the world in a virtual environment, but the ability to interact and exchange digital assets in a virtual environment,” Eliezer said.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the use of this technology. Disney filed for the patent in July 2020.

With most people working from home and telecommuting, “we are now more virtually connected than ever before,” Eliezer said, adding that we can still be productive when virtual.

“Now we are creating a virtual ecosystem for living, working and playing,” Eliezer said.

Disney is no stranger to incorporating new technologies into its theme parks. One of Walt Disney’s most famous lines is that Disneyland would never be completed as long as there is imagination in the world.

Disney, which created the first Audio-Animatronics in the 1960s, and trackless rides, has more than 300 patents.

At Disneyland, one of their old nightly fireworks featured projection mapping technology. As the fireworks went off above, Disney projected moving images across the surface of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, buildings along Main Street, USA, and even it’s a small world.

Disney changed and technologically adapted its parks during the pandemic by adding mobile controls and a new improved agenda using artificial intelligence called Disney Genie. The Disney Genie + has a augmented reality component also.

While the MagicBand isn’t new, especially to Walt Disney World, the wearable technology that allows visitors to sync their theme park tickets, their room key, and more, arrives at disneyland.

For this recent patent, Disney plans to go further and create a fully immersive experience in its theme parks.

(Courtesy of the United States Patent Office)

According to the patent, Disney plans to create a virtual world simulator, perhaps inside a room or different parts of the park, that includes a hardware processor, a tracking system and “a portable device configured to be used by a user in the real world place and communicatively coupled to the computing platform. “

Currently, most projectors project a moving or visual image onto a two-dimensional surface. It is the image that most people see regardless of different points of view.

Disney’s patent will use multiple projectors to allow one or more users to experience a virtual world through virtual effects applied to a three-dimensional object inside the room.

“They will first map the environment, track users in the environment and project the corresponding virtual simulation in the real place of the real world,” he said.

One possibility, DeStefano said, is to imagine a room with multiple projectors, so that as a visitor moves through the room, the projector projects onto physical objects different virtual or animated things around it. ‘them.

In many ways, the projected images would appear like a hologram.

Think of the enchanted rose in “Beauty and the Beast,” he said.

Disney would just need to place a plastic cylinder inside a room with this invention and let the spotlight do all the work to make it look like an enchanted rose.

The patent also states that Disney plans to create a portable device to display the virtual image rather than simply installing projectors around a room.

“It could be a type I Spy game where someone hold a portable device like a flashlight, and as they shine it on an element in the room, something will be animated in it, ”DeStefano said.

Users will not see a virtual version of themselves in the room. However, all the space around them will be virtual.

The patent is different from augmented reality, where computer-generated images appear through a device.

“What’s going on here is actually a showing,” DeStefano said. “Rather than looking through a phone screen or headset, Disney has developed a system almost similar to a movie projector to project onto a real surface what humans see on a screen. It’s more of an experience of the world. real than looking at it through a phone. “

And there is no need for a virtual reality headset, augmented reality glasses, or those kinds of glasses.

These are lonely experiences. Disney’s invention would allow multiple users to share the same experience simultaneously.

The possibilities of this new technology are endless.

DeStefano said the projectors could be installed in a dark amusement ride room, which people enjoy when they are in line or at various locations in Disneyland, Downtown Disney or the Disney theme parks at Walt Disney World.

Eliezer said Disney would most likely release its intellectual property in the form of projected virtual images. And it looks like Disney is stepping up the development of this technology.

Usually, it takes almost two years for someone to patent something in the United States Patent Office.

Disney accelerated this deposit and received it within six months. They want to be leaders in this space and this technology.

“That probably means it’s a short-term rollout for them or it’s a licensing game,” Eliezer said. “Disney’s goal in getting this patent… Disney thinks others are going to enter this space. They want to make sure they get that patent first.”


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