Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been long said to be the most immersive land Disney has ever created. A multitude of recent patents have been filed relating to the land, and the latest one seemingly transcends this dimension.
In the Star Wars universe, there is such a thing as a “Force Ghost” where characters close to the Force are able to replicate themselves in “ghost form”. This patent showcases a technology described as:
The floating image may be in a space in which viewers may be present such that the viewers can be near to the image and can, in some cases, walk about and interact with the floating image. Preferably, the display system would be configured to produce a floating image that can be large in scale and, in many applications, be visible to the viewer not only in dark rooms or spaces but also in more highly illuminated rooms or spaces (e.g., a 3D image may float in an outside space near a queue for a ride or attraction at an amusement or theme park or in a lobby of a movie theater).
Technology like this would allow guests in Galaxy’s Edge to interact with Force Ghosts while near a queue or other locations in the land. The effect is achieved by reflecting a projection image off of multiple mirrored surfaces and into physical space such that the image appears to be floating.
This technology could be used in a number of other spaces as well, like Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. As an attraction featuring “2.5D” technology, this patent could point to holographic characters in the attraction as a way to get a 3D appearance without needing 3D glasses.
Other uses for this technology could include holograms, like the ones in Star Wars that were used for communication like a kind of futuristic version of Skype. How this could be implemented in the land is unclear, but usage in the upcoming Star Wars Hotel to communicate missions or quests to guests seems plausible.
In the patent, it says that the image can be 2D or 3D so that the floating element is realistic to what it is supposed to be representing. So if the floating image is a person, it will be 3D but if it is a sign or text, the image can be displayed in 2D.
As with all patents, this technology may never be seen in the parks, but this specific patent seems to have a variety of applications with current attraction projects.