Patent talk looks at Disney audience interaction idea involving lightsabers
August 22, 2016 by Nancy Owano
(Tech Xplore)—A lightsaber to deflect lasers? And you? In a special room where you can do battle? What kind of stairway to heaven is this? For Star Wars fans, divine news: there has been a patent filed which focuses on how to make lightsabers work, not in a special-effects Hollywood lab but in a Disney environment.
The design is for a system that appears to shoot out a beam of light from a hilt, just as lightsabers do in Star Wars, said Ashley Rodriguez in Quartz.
PatentYogi reported on the Disney Enterprises patent application. "A faux Lightsaber includes LEDs to transmit IR light towards the drones," said PatentYogi. The title was "Audience Interaction Projection System" and it was filed last year.
Germain Lussier, entertainment reporter for io9/Gizmodo, went through the patent details. Translating the patent talk, he said, "it's basically saying, using this system, park attendees can deflect beams with their lightsabers. Drones will send light through matter (fog or something) so you can see it, and then the sabers will send it back."
But wait, there's more. The patent idea is tempting to think about after PatentYogi brought the company's patent into fuller context. PatentYogi reported on what Disney has planned—-a theme park, named Star Wars Land at Anaheim, California and Bay Lake, Florida.
(Disney announced plans for "Star Wars"-themed lands coming in Anaheim, California and Florida.)
The Inquisitr said that there will be two "signature rides," which are the Millennium Falcon, and encounter between Resistance fighters and New Order troops
The Disney Parks Blog earlier this year said, "richly detailed lands promise to immerse you in the Star Wars galaxy as never before, allowing you to create your own adventure."
Park-goers will meet humanoids, aliens and droids. Rodrigues in Quartz said the patent application "lays out a number of scenarios in which this might work, including one that allows audience members to emit laser beams from their phones, with the help of an app."
As for the lightsaber concept, PatentYogi said, "Disney has invented an audience interaction projection system that includes drones flying over the audience. The air above the audience is filled with some particulate matter such as water vapor, condensed water, liquid nitrogen, dust, and theatrical fog."
PatentYogi said that a faux lightsaber includes LEDs to transmit IR light towards drones. "As an LED is turned on, IR rays are transmitted from the saber towards the drones, then an IR sensor built into the drones captures an image of the field of view with a bright spot at the position of the activated LED."
The drone projects light through particulate matter toward the lightsaber. Visible light passing through the particulate matter gives off an illusion that the faux lightsaber deflected a laser beam. PatentYogi said that "Multiple LEDs are activated in sequence at various times to give the audience members the impression that the movements of the faux light sabers are deflecting multiple laser beams. Further, faux Lightsabers provide a haptic feedback to the audience members each time LED is activated."
Jason Guerrasio, entertainment reporter, Business Insider, commented that "The patent explains that it would be possible for guests to do what Luke did in 'A New Hope' through a combination of LEDs and flying drones." Guerrasio also said, "if this is the kind of thing Disney is thinking about for the 'Star Wars' park, the company is going in the right direction."
So the question becomes, when, when? Will we see this experience on offer any time soon? Who knows? Rodrigues in Quartz said, "The media-and-entertainment juggernaut files a lot of patent applications, and many of those ideas never see the light of day. But Star Wars fans will no doubt be rooting for this one to come to fruition."
According to io9/Gizmodo: "'We continuously innovate and file hundreds of patents that may or may not have any business unit application,' said a Disney Parks representative."
Explore further: Video: Star Wars science: Lightsabers, lasers and force fields
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