To most of us, Disney seems to be just an entertainment company. Which is true to some extent, but at the core, Disney has always been one of the most innovative technology company. This innovation culture was started by Walt Disney himself. He invented and patented the first multi-plane camera that allowed him to produce feature length movies.
For one group of inventors at Disney, they didn’t have to look far for creative inspiration. Disney being the epitome of fantasy, all they had to do was pull out a leaf of the Disney movie –“The Princess and the Frog”. It’s the scene where ray the firefly and thousands of his buddies put up a spectacular air dance while leading frogs to Mama Odie.
Disney has patented technology that puts up a similar air dance in reality. The invention creates amazing displays in the real world by using hundreds of drones carrying lights that mimic the fireflies.
The patented technology takes in a description of the visual display as an input and converts it into flight paths for all the individual drones. These flight plans are then relayed from a ground station to the drones. The drones then perform in-flight calculations based on wind conditions and update the flight plans. The drones receive these flight plans and obediently follow them moving in complex trajectories.
In effect, the drones act as light pixels that can be moved around in controlled paths to create a grand visual display for people watching from the ground.
The result is as breathtakingly fantastic as the scene from which it is inspired. Disney will be bringing these drones into their night time shows at Disneyland. How many of you will want to see these shows at Disneyland?
Publication number: US8862285 B2
Patent Title: Aerial display system with floating pixels
Publication date: 14 Oct 2014
Filing date: 15 Feb 2013
Inventors: Clifford Wong, James Alexander Stark, Robert Scott Trowbridge
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.