When you were a kid, perhaps you and your friends played with flashlights, chasing each other’s light spots across the wall – if you were born within the past 20 years, just substitute the term “laser pointers” for “flashlights.” In either case ... wouldn’t it have been neat if those spots of light came to life when they met, and fought with each other? That’s the type of thing that’s now possible with the prototype SidebySide system, developed by Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University. It enables animated images from two separate handheld projectors to interact with each other on the any surface.
Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has become such a staple of modern movie-making that most people know what actors are doing when prancing around in front of green screens wearing skin-tight leotards with reflective balls affixed at various locations over their bodies - motion capture. In addition to the actor’s performance, such techniques can also require the tracking of camera movements and props so that perspective is maintained when translating the movements into CGI. Now researchers have demonstrated a system that can perform motion capture almost anywhere and without the need to track a separate camera and it does this by mounting the cameras on the actors instead.
In the quest for more immersive entertainment experiences, researchers at Disney Research, Pittsburgh (DRP) have developed a new tactile technology called Surround Haptics. Instead of just relying on sound and vision – and in the case of video games, vibrating controllers – the system uses a low-resolution grid of vibrating actuators to generate high-resolution, continuous, moving tactile strokes across a person’s skin. They claim the system is able to create smooth, continuous tactile motion, akin to the feeling of someone dragging a finger across someone’s skin, rather than the discrete tactile pulsations or buzzes commonly used in today’s haptic technology.
Back in 1982, when the original Tron
was released, movie merchandising wasn’t quite as... robust
as it is today. Therefore, there wasn’t much available in the way of Tron
collectibles, much to the chagrin of Apple II-using geeks everywhere. Skip forward 28 years, and you can now buy Tron Legacy
toys before the movie has even opened. One of the first out of the starting gates is Air Hogs’ RC Zero G Light Cycle... and yes, you're right, remote-control toys have become pretty much a dime a dozen. Ones that can be driven across walls or ceilings, however, are still kind of special.
The lightcycle scene
was probably the most memorable part of an absolutely jaw-dropping movie when Tron was released back in 1982. One of the first films ever to use the kinds of computer-generated special effects that later become commonplace, it was a glimpse into a whole new world that left an indelible impression on most that saw it. Now, as Disney prepares to release Tron Legacy
, a sequel some 28 years after the original, the lightcycles are back and looking meaner than ever. Built by the same guys that did the memorable Batpod
replica, the new lightcycles feature massive dual hubless wheels, carbon fibre/fibreglass bodies and all the lashings of neon that you'd expect. And there's going to be five running models built - all of which are now up for sale on eBay. Check it out!
US Music Corp., parent company of several music brands including Washburn Guitars, have partnered with Disney to create the Disney Star suite of applications - which unlike console-based music games, will teach children to play a real guitar or piano using familiar songs from Disney franchises like Hannah Montana and High School Musical.
May 1, 2008 Known for DVDs, plush toys and movie character figurines, Disney Consumer Products has announced that it will now enter the fast growing robotic toy market. Disney has created its debut line in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, Thinkway Toys and WowWee.
August 30, 2007 A new version of Honda’s popular humanoid robot, ASIMO
, is now appearing in its very own stage show at Disneyland in California. Twenty years in the making, the first generation ASIMO
has undergone numerous improvements
and has even appeared as a spokesperson
for Honda , featuring in a series of television advertisements in the UK.
January 25, 2007 The new Walt Disney film Enchanted – released in November/December 2007 – has a promotional tour travelling to the main European cities of London, Paris, Madrid, Brussels and Munich in which the FogScreen walk-through screen is featured. One of the key features of the movie is an enchanted wishing well. The effects of which in the tour have been created by FogScreen
walk-through screen (pictured). A Finnish invention, FogScreen walk-through screen
uses ordinary water to generate a thin, dry fog upon which the image is projected, hence making it possible to walk through an image floating in mid-air without getting wet.
September 8, 2006 Children of today will be the first generation to capture their own images, and that hasn’t been lost on the Disney entertainment empire which has launched a new Disney Pix line features digital cameras, camcorders and peripherals that allow young kids and tweens to shoot, edit, print and share their digital photographs. Starting at just U$20 the designs are character-themed for all ages, including "High School Musical," "Cars," "Disney Princess," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Tinker Bell." The Digital Cameras all come with Disney Pix software starting with the U$20 Disney Pix Micro (an ultra-small camera with a storage capacity of 24 photos) for tots, the slightly-upmarket US$50 Disney Pix Click (200 VGA 640 x 480 photos, 2X digital zoom, built-in auto flash, TV output), the range-topping US$80 Disney Pix Max (3 MPX images, 1.5" colour LCD screen, 4X digital zoom, expandable memory card slot, built-in auto flash, TV output), and a US$30 Keychain Digital keychain Brag Book, an ultra-small digital photo album that stores 50 photos and has a 1.1" LCD screen. There’s just one camcorder – the US$80 Disney Princess Digital Movie Maker, a digital with 32MB of built-in memory, 640 x 480 video resolution and a built-in microphone, pitched for girls to edit their own videos and add music, animation, sound effects, titles and credits with the accompanying software.