Disney and magic are virtually synonymous. Not only in the ethereal sense, but also when it comes to the art of illusion as performed by stage magicians for centuries. Practical illusions have found their way into countless films, television programs, theme park attractions and — especially — theatrical stage productions. The very same illusion that leaves millions of annual visitors to the Haunted Mansion mystified is actually a centuries-old theatrical effect known as Pepper’s ghost. And while it’s easy enough to produce illusions in films and television outside the reaches of the camera frame, it takes a little bit more ingenuity to have Mary Poppins pull one impossibly large object after another from a small carpet bag on stage in front of a live audience.
Although it appears that the FAA has not yet made Disney’s response to its latest round of questions public, it sent notification to the company yesterday advising that new regulations require the FAA to be delayed in responding to the original request. At issue is that the request was made as an exemption to Rule 333 under the now-ironically named ‘FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,’ or FMRA. According to the notice, the portion of Rule 333 that governed the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) — or vehicles (UAVs) as the industry often refers them to as — was a stopgap until more permanent regulations were in place. Enter Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 107.
The Federal Aviation Administration has responded to Disney’s request for an exemption under Section 333, permitting the company’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for theme park entertainment. After a period of time soliciting comments from the public — 12 in all, most decidedly against granting Disney the exemption — the FAA has responded, but with a series of questions seeking more clarification on Disney’s intents and implementation. The list of questions the FAA is requiring answers for before making a final determination are as follows:
- Will flight operations be conducted at night only? After twilight? Will the hours of operation coincide with the fireworks display?
Betcha on land they understand that you can hide the mechanisms that control your puppet, but it’s a totally different story under the sea. With beloved characters like Ariel from The Little Mermaid and popular franchises like Finding Nemo (and its upcoming sequel, Finding Dory), being able to present the characters as tangible puppets in their true native habitat would go a long way to creating magic, but the requirements of visible rods and other manipulators only serve to take away from the experience. Instead, Disney has relied on using computer generated imagery and projection to simulate combining its intellectual property with real world aquatic elements such as the Living Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot.
While Adam Aron, the CEO of movie theater chain AMC Theatres, recently caused himself a bit of internet backlash by suggesting that some seating sections should be designated texting zones, Disney is working behind the scenes to make something like this happen.
Disney has actually experimented with a product they call ‘Second Screen’ before with special organized showings of The Little Mermaid and The Nightmare Before Christmas which encouraged theatergoers to being their iOS device to the show and supplement the film with interactive games and trivia as audience members compete for the highest score, but this is not that.
According to recent trademark applications, Disney plans to stream virtual reality movies and videos through an online service called ‘Disney Movies VR.’ Two such applications have been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office to date: serial number 86957194 is ‘computer software and downloadable applications for delivering, accessing, downloading, streaming, playing, browsing, and viewing virtual reality and digital content;’ and serial number 86957196 is for ‘streaming and delivery of virtual reality and digital content.’
There’s no arguing that the advent of 3D printers has revolutionized the way we do things in a way that impacts virtually every one, either directly or not. From rapid prototype development, to affordable consumer models, to toys marketed to children that mimic the process, 3D printers have firmly ingrained themselves in the way business is conducted in today’s world. And like most other forms of technology, the 3D Printer continues to evolve in all sorts of ways, such as offering full color printing as well as printing edible meals.
iCertainty and Zebra Technologies Corporation today announced plans to further license technology developed by Disney dubbed CHEFS (Computerized HACCP Enhanced Food Safety). At its core, the technology employs wireless temperature probes with Zebra’s MC40 mobile devices and iCertainty’s software to offer real-time monitoring of food temperatures, creating alerts when health concerns due to internal temperatures fall out of their respective safety zones. In addition to the immediate health benefits, the system also permits food preparers to rely on a manual process of documenting everything on paper for auditing purposes.
It’s become one of the world’s worst kept secrets that Disney Parks has devised of a way to use drones in its nighttime entertainment offerings and is currently lobbying the FAA to allow them to do so. Almost on a weekly basis now, we are learning more and more of just how Disney is attempting to accomplish such a feat, pioneering methods and technology to do so.
Exactly one week ago, we covered a patent application that demonstrates the ‘flixel’ system being composed of a pico-projector and a mesh screen and now Disney has potentially revealed plans on how the system will sustain itself.
We have been following Disney Theme Parks’ plans to incorporate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — or drones — into its nighttime entertainment experiences for years, beginning with the initial patent application through their recent filing to actually seek FAA permission to use drones at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
The filing revealed that Disney plans on using 3DR quadcopters with a ‘flixel’ payload of no more than five pounds in weight, but until now, it was more or less assumed that it would be a simple screen, consisting of simple elements that would combine with other drones’ payloads to develop a larger picture, such as what Intel had recently shown, which was effectively simulating fireworks.