Attractions industry news

25 Oct 2017

Haptic technology from Disney Research allows users to ‘feel’ fireworks

Disney’s firework shows – a signature of the company’s parks and resorts – could soon become more inclusive for blind and visually impaired visitors after the company’s research arm showcased new haptic technology allowing them to “feel” the spectacular nighttime displays.

Created using directable water jets that spray onto the rear of a flexible screen, the low-cost approach allows for dynamic tactile effects to be rendered with high spatial resolution, says Disney Research.

The concept device is freestanding, mounted on caster wheels for ease of movement. The water pump is a medical device, designed to be near-silent, while the water jets make a light drumming sound on the plastic screen. Different nozzles are capable of creating different firework effects. A projector makes the fireworks visible on the screen, especially at night or indoors in regular lighting conditions.

“A user study demonstrated that the tactile effects are meaningful analogs to the visual fireworks that they represent, with sighted users able to label the correct correspondence of tactile-to-visual effects by a large margin over chance,” said the lab report from Disney Research.

“Beyond the specific application, the technology represents a novel and cost-effective approach for making large, scalable tactile displays, with the potential for wider use.

“There are further possibilities – for example, the use of balloons by deaf people to feel music suggests that a tactile-visual screen could also be the basis of an inclusive musical experience.”



To read the full report, click here.

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