It literally sent shockwaves across the internet last year when we first reported that it appeared Walt Disney World was looking into closing current loopholes regarding the refillable mug system currently in place in which any cup could be used indefinitely at the soda fountain dispensers located in the food courts of the Walt Disney World resorts.
Beginning today, guests with visual disabilities will be able to explore Disneyland park in a whole new way through an enhanced Disney-designed device that provides detailed audio description of outdoor areas. This feature compliments the audio description inside Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks’ attractions and theaters that was launched over a year ago.
“Disney Parks have long been at the forefront of providing accessibility for guests with disabilities,” said Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of Worldwide Standards and Auditing for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “We are pleased to build on this legacy with new technology that enables us to do something that has never been done before – provide rich audio description in moving attractions and outdoor environments.”
In a recent newsletter update, the Disneyland Resort has announced that Radiator Springs Racers, part of the new Cars Land in Disney California Adventure and scheduled to open in summer of 2012, will offer an enhanced version of FASTPASS, designed — in part — to ‘make the service more available,’ but stops short of any details, noting only ‘the details are still being worked out.’
The article quotes Abel Garay, Reporting Assistant for Global Park Operations, who was speaking in regards to the future of the FASTPASS system. The full quote follows:
InsidetheMagic.net has posted video of the new interactive hitchhiking ghosts at Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion at the Walt Disney World Resort.
As was confirmed earlier this week, Haunted Mansion is now using a technology we first reported more than a year ago in which cameras trained on the guests and recognition software work to dynamically generate images that appear to interact with the guests. From swapping hats (or beards) to experimenting with guests’ heads to just going for a ride, the video provides many of the sample animations which also highlights the virtual limitlessness of the technology in that it’s fully capable of determining how many guests are in the omnimover doom buggy vehicle as well as their physical locations inside the vehicle.
Last night, Walt Disney Imagineering did some preliminary tests with willing
victims cast members at Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom. The results had the victims cast members losing their heads laughing their heads off as the hitchhiking ghosts interacted with them in ways that have not yet been experienced in a theme park attraction.
With the ‘Traveling Virtual Pet Game System’ (U.S. Patent Application 20110070935), inventor Damon R. Beggs hopes to bring the perpetual successes of the virtual pet into the 21st century, allowing it to travel the world (and beyond) all while in the palm of your hand.
Early last year, we shared with you news of a patent from Disney Enterprises which, in part, calls for being able to use cameras combined with software to detect a guest and identify certain features while also being able to combine dynamically generated images with projected or reflected images of the guests themselves.
Then, we were led to believe that this technology would first be seen as part of a new meet and greet experience at Pixie Hollow in the New Fantasyland. With those plans seemingly out the window, we now focus our attention to the Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom which has very openly been making some unknown changes to the hitchhiking ghosts scene at the end.
On Friday, March 11, the American Foundation for the Blind will recognize and award Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for its innovative Assistive Technology Device which debuted in summer 2010 at its annual ceremony in Seattle. Along with Disney, CBS Television, Lexmark International and Accessible Twitter will also be recognized by the non-profit group.
“Too often, swift advances in technology bring the rewards of convenience and entertainment to an eager world while inadvertently leaving those who are visually impaired behind,” says AFB president and CEO, Carl R. Augusto. “Each of this year’s Access Award winners displayed a real commitment to making sure their products and services are equally accessible to everyone. And with the growing number of people with vision loss, focusing on accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a savvy business decision.”
ESPN has launched its ScoreCenter application, popular on devices like the iPhone and iPad, to Internet-enabled televisions. ScoreCenter will first be available on Samsung Internet-enabled TVs via the Samsung Apps store, the world’s first HDTV-based application store.
The application provides fans with the ability to view scores and stats from a variety of sports with a touch of a button. Scoreboards and live game details can expand to include in-game stats, scores and schedules. Personalization features allow fans to customize their ScoreCenter experience by highlighting their favorite teams and leagues. Fans can also position the application to suit their preference, including across the top, bottom or sides of the screen. The video image adjusts accordingly, depending on the placement of the app.
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This past weekend, tens of thousands of families partook in the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, DC as well as satellite events throughout the country. The two-day free festival was created in order to inspire the nation’s youth to pursue careers in maths and sciences by offering various hands-on activities. One of many participants, The Walt Disney Company presented a booth and multiple presentations in conjunction with the National Academy of Engineering featuring TRON: Legacy as well as Walt Disney Imagineer Lanny Smoot.
The concept behind the booth was ’14 Grand Challenges,’ created by the NAE, which is essentially a list of tasks that the NAE believes will need to be addressed in this and future generations. Inside the booth were a few exhibits that demonstrated some of the challenges in practice as well as items from the Disney film. On display from TRON: Legacy was the life-size demonstration model of the lightcycle as well as the SHIVA laser invented by Kevin Flynn which was actually used during the movie’s production.
Relating to the sci-fi SHIVA laser scanner (which the original TRON featured back in 1982) was an exhibit on 3D scanning which helps scientists understand objects better. By using a scanning in a physical object, the computer can generate a point cloud which then translates into a mesh model and finally a digital representation of the object, which can then be explored further in digital space, modified and even re-printed as a physical object.
The next demonstration made every one into a virtual brain surgeon, even if — especially in my case — they aren’t one. Using the the NeuroTouch VR brain surgery simulator developed by the National Research Council in Canada. The NeuroTouch takes MRI data and generates a virtual copy of the patients’ brain and allows the surgeon to visualize and even practice operating on the brain, even providing physical feedback in the virtual 3D space. The exhibit offered visitors the opportunity to remove a brain tumor while controlling any bleeding that was occurring as a result and scored the visitor’s performance. As I mentioned earlier, I’m no brain surgeon, so we’ll just leave it at that.
The final demonstration in the booth was created by Walt Disney Imagineering specifically as an offering for the festival as well as the film’s premiere and uses a new innovention called ‘light painting.’ A two-step process, the visitor first finds him/herself alone in a room with what essentially amounts to a sawhorse. Reclining on the sawhorse as if one were riding a lightcycle, the system uses stereoscopic imagery to take a 3D photo of the visitor. Following the photo, the visitor is handed a wand whose tip is tracked by the cameras placed all around. This allows the visitor to virtually paint their missing lightcycle in the virtual 3D space. Imagineer Lanny Smoot, who talked about the exhibit during his presentation which I’ll cover next, compared it to using a digital camera at home and leaving the shutter open so that the camera constantly captures every movement, but here it’s in a literal 3D space, not just the 2D space a single camera could capture.