Watch a few hours of the Food Network or The Learning Channel and it becomes clear that cake decorating is big business nowadays. Regular folk are willing to shell out thousands of dollars on special occasions to receive hand-sculpted, personalized baked goods that often appear to defy the laws of physics. Extreme elements can include non-edible elements added to the cake such as LEDs or moving parts designed to produce oohs and ahhs from the audience about to eat it.
So says a new patent application from Disney Enterprises titled ‘Projector systems and methods for producing digitally augmented, interactive cakes and other Food Products.’ Created by Charita Y. Carter, Charita Y, Mark Raymond Mine, Modupe Adeleye, Christopher Raynard Runco, Thomas Fraiser Laduke and Bei Yang, the interactive cake makes extensive use of a projector.
That is to say where most see a delicious dessert, Disney Imagineers see a projection screen where a moving image can be projected onto the cake to offer a unique dining experience. The patent application, however, goes way beyond showing a simple movie. Rather there are varying levels of interactivity, particularly when coupled with a computer which can dynamically generate images based on how individuals are interacting with the cake. The system would be capable of detecting the topography of a cake which essentially means that if a slice were to be cut out, it could detect the missing piece and respond appropriately. For example, cut out a slice where there’s a simulated lake and you may instantly create a waterfall in which water is now represented as flowing down the sides of the new missing cake portion. Additionally, props and specially coded utensils could trigger events such as Tinker Bell flying around the cake and leaving a trail of pixie dust when someone waves a wand in front of the cake. Perhaps Captain Hook would instantly appear and draw his sword, preparing for battle, as someone approaches the cake with a knife.
You’ll be able to find more sordid details and examples inside the patent application available here.