We've all seen children and even adults deeply engaged with their toys, action figures, or fantasy games, imagining wonderful scenarios. This imaginary world may soon be more real than ever before, thanks to a new patent granted to Disney Enterprises titled, Augmented Reality Enhanced Interactive Robotic Animation, number US11747890B2. This revolutionary patent suggests a solution for bringing animation and playtime to life, making it hardly possible to distinguish between real and imaginary playgrounds.
The apparent downside with traditional playtime is the difficulty in cultivating a lifelike experience with toys. As our environment and technology evolve, simply playing with toy cars or dolls might fall short of satisfying the imagination of a child who is exposed to the wonders of animation and virtual video games from an early age. Animating and testing lifelike characters has always been a challenge. More so, when it involves a feedback loop between humans and the toy. Traditional animation tools simply do not provide a realistic view of how the toy or animated character will eventually interact.
Disney's patent filed on March 2, 2022, address this challenge. The patent covers a unique computer system which functions in collaboration with a sophisticated headgear. The computer system is designed in such a way that it contains sensors to interpret its surrounding environment along with the headset’s position. The system will then define an action that needs to be performed which will subsequently be shared with the headset. The mind-boggling aspect here is how the action will be displayed through the headset – it is not just an ordinary scene but an enriched experience, similar to watching animated characters play on your real-life coffee table.
Upon implementation of this patent, a refreshing change is expected for children and adults alike. The world of play comes to life leading to an immersive experience. This has potential widespread implications from entertainment to education. Children can play and learn with animated figures that interact seamlessly with them, encouraging a new level of creativity. An animated dinosaur might step out from the pages of a biology book. The geography homework suddenly becomes interesting when children virtually visit the place while sitting in their living rooms.
A real-world example of this kind of immersive experience could be a future version of Disney's Augmented Reality Playset, where kids interact with artificially intelligent toys within their own environment. Imagine children going on adventures with their favorite Disney characters within the comfort of their bedroom or backyard, bringing storytime to life like never before.
Most important thing to remember here is that this marvel has been patented and not yet released in the market for use. As with other patented designs and innovations, there is no guarantee that this product will ever see the light of day. However, the future of playtime as suggested by Disney's US11747890B2 patent, looks very innovative, promising, and most importantly magical.
PS: Do remember, although patents hint at possible advancements in technology, they do not confirm that such inventions will actually make it to market. It's still exciting though, to gaze and speculate about what the world of play might look like in the future under the influence of such technologies.