Making its debut at a Grand Slam tennis event, ESPN’s SpiderCam at the US Open has taken viewers where they’ve never gone before for dramatic shots of Arthur Ashe Stadium. The aerial camera system – which is exclusive to ESPN2 and its approximately 100 hours of US Open action – is suspended by four thin Kevlar ropes connected to large winches via pulleys high above the court surface on light poles at the four corners of the world’s largest tennis arena. It moves in three dimensions, ranging from as low as one meter off the court to 33 meters high, from beyond one end of the court to the other and from side to side. The camera can pan, tilt, zoom and focus, with the images sent via fiber optics wiring within the Kevlar roping.
There was little surprise yesterday about how quickly the YouTube video of a Talking Mickey character test at Disneyland garnered attention, turning just a few dozen views from when we first reported it to tens of thousands less than a day later, but realizing that there would have to at least be a patent application somewhere before the technology was debuted, we set out to find the source of the marveling magic.
UPDATE: We dug up the patent that Disney has held for YEARS that makes this technology possible. Read more!
The day of reckoning has come, dear readers.
A friend sent us a link to these YouTube videos showing Mickey Mouse greeting a couple of fans at Toontown in Disneyland a couple of days ago and it appears that the technology first used in the character heads of the Dream Along with Mickey Castle show at Magic Kingdom may very well have found its way into the meet & greet scenario in a huge way (and with some further enhancements).
You may recall a couple of years ago, the Magic Kingdom was ‘testing’ a very popular device called the Disney Magic Connection: a special cartridge locked into an otherwise-ordinary Nintendo DS that provided guests beta-testing the device the ability to know where the nearest facilities were based on location, estimated standby times for attractions and more. Many have since wondered what became of the project and we now have an idea.
Last week, a patent application from Disney Enterprises was published and although it describes the Disney Magic Connection system to a tee, what the application covers is ready to propel the entire theme park experience to a whole other level, integrating technology into virtually every aspect of even the most traditional element.