What if there was a surface that looked like a wall, but when triggered, would become transparent and reveal objects behind it? Well, a recent patent published by Disney seems to show that they have created such a technology.
The best way to describe it is that this technology is it’s like a self-darkening window that keeps out sunlight without a shade. However, instead of just the window dark, this technology makes the window display an opaque image that can be “turned off” to become transparent.
Obvious applications would be a piece of a wall that could disappear to show a screen or object behind it. A diagram in the patent publication showed what looks like a chest with a cat inside becoming visible as the screen turned transparent.
What is unique about this patent is that it works in sunlight, such that projection technologies are not necessary. Typically this visual trick can be done in a darkened environment with a projector, but that is not possible in daylight.
Here’s how the patent describes the technology:
A display system for transforming sunlit and other brightly lit surfaces while being observed by viewers or an audience. The display system includes an optical element switchable between first and second operating states, and the optical element includes a pane that is opaque in the first operating state and transparent in the second operating state.
Where this technology will be used, if ever, is not immediately apparent but it does open a lot of possibilities for the theme parks.