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Disney Patent Application Shows Rotating 2D Displays Capable of Creating Multi-Perspective Interactive 3D Models

A Disney patent application published March 18, 2021 puts a new spin on 3D images. Rather than using multiple projectors or augmented reality headsets to present a 3D image, a high-quality screen is rotated along its vertical axis. A computer controls the rotation speed and synchronizes the video sent to the display. This system allows the rotating display to present a different perspective based on the viewer’s location.

The technology could replace numerous practical effects used in older Disney attractions. The “Multi-perspective Display of an Image Using Illumination Switching” patent application details how the rotating display works.

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The display screen (190) has an integrated computer (102). A rotor is connected to a stationary base (140). The motor (142) spins the display screen. The rotation speed is controlled by the motor controller (144).

The figure also shows two observers, 117a and 117b. Each observer sees a unique image perspective (119a, 119b). How? The computer is able to send unique data to the display surface (192) by calculating the rotation speed and drawing the correct pixels to create the different perspective view presented to each observer.

The patent application points out that the observers could be the same person moving around the display screen. In addition, there could be more than two viewers.

More generally, observers 117a and 117b may correspond to a single observer, or to more or many more than two observers who may be positioned so as to view multi-perspective image 188 from a variety of different perspectives.

Patent Application US 2021/0080766 A1

Imagine these observers as Disney theme park guests walking through a queue or riding an Omnimover attraction. For example, the screen could replace, say, the staring busts in The Haunted Mansion library. That’s just the start. The system also includes sensors that add interactivity to the simulated 3D image.

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Fig. 1B shows the sensors that make up the sensor network (120): microphones (124), RFID reader (122a), facial recognition (122b), automatic speech recognition (122c), object recognition (122d), image sensor (122e), and position / rate sensors (130). The sensor network will make the rotating display incredibly interactive.

The microphones and speech recognition system allow guests to talk to the display; the system will be able to process and understand. The position / rate sensor makes it possible for the displayed image to locate the sound source. That means that the displayed perspective image will be able to look directly at the speaking guest and respond.

Facial recognition, object recognition, and image sensors enable the system to identify people and items. For example, a guest holding a lightsaber could trigger dialog from the simulated 3D object and see a customized perspective image. An RFID sensor reads information from a MagicBand or other RFID-enabled devices, such as smartphones and wearables.

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Fig. 2A provides a simple drawing of the system. The aforementioned components are still used; they are simply not illustrated. The patent application also considers ways to restrict viewing from some angles.

For example, optional privacy screen may be affixed to display surface of display screen so as to restrict viewing of display screen outside of a predetermined viewing angle. Such a privacy screen may take the form of a louvered structure affixed to display screen, or to a privacy film covering the display surface of display screen.

Patent Application US 2021/0080766 A1

These privacy screens prevent guests from seeing the image too soon or allow guests near each other to see images customized for and displayed only to them.

Will this technology replace practical effects in classic Disney attractions? Or, will the display technology be used in new projects like Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind? Make an educated guess in the comments.

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