The house of the mouse could head towards the Metaverse


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Photography: Roberto Machado Noa (Getty Images)

The metaverse can head to Disney Theme Park near you.

Disney was granted patent approval for a “virtual world simulator” shortly before the new year, according to a recently published application with U.S. Patent Office. The technology would be used to project 3-D images onto real-world objects to create interactive guest experiences in all parks without the need for a portable headset or mobile device. If you are unfamiliar, this type of bridge between the physical and virtual worlds is called the metaverse, the so-called The latest word from Silicon Valley.

Disney is already using augmented reality technology for large-scale entertainment in its theme parks, such as using projection mapping to revive its cast of characters on shop windows, waterfalls and other real-world structures. But tits new technology would have a much different scale: it would track individual visitors to the park to personalize the projections they see on nearby buildings and walls. For example, a family passing by a shop window might see Mickey Mouse greeting them as they pass.

If House of Mouse does incorporate a metaverse into its parks, it probably won’t happen anytime soon. Disney officials said Los Angeles Times that the company has no immediate plans to use the virtual world simulator technology described in its patent.

“We are excited about the opportunities associated with this type of technology,” a Disney spokesman said, adding that “there are currently no plans to bring this technology into the upcoming experience.” The spokesman also stressed that Disney “files hundreds of patents each year as we research emerging technologies.”

However, as Informed points out, the inclusion of a metaverse in its theme parks would surely accompany Disney’s ambitious the goal is to tell stories through a “three-dimensional canvas”. CEO Bob Chapek described this vision in detail during Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings call:

“Our efforts so far are just an introduction to a time when we will be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing borderless storytelling in our own Disney metaverse,” Chapek said.

It is worth noting that corporations great as Disney has a history of securing patents just to prevent competitors from getting their first, which could be the case here.

“He may never use it, but I think it’s something he’s going to commercialize,” Ed Khalili, a patent attorney with Founders Legal, said in an interview with LA Times.


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