Disney has a long history of using advanced animatronics and high technology for its shows and theme’s park, but some of the entertainment company’s new patents mean anything, Disney could be taking things to the next level by using drones as floating TV screens and animatronic puppet masters. Each patent outlines uses for swarms of small, synchronized quadcopters or multicopters, which could either enhance or fully replace the company’s existing light shows, fireworks displays, and parade balloons.
The first two patents outline different methods for producing light shows, the first of which uses large, flexible screens that are lifted into the air by small, remote-controlled craft. These screens would be large projection surfaces that are made out of mesh that would allow wind to flow through them. Or drones to produce their own images using loosely woven strips of LEDs. The drones would be able to detect each other and work together in unison, according to a central program.
The second method would use swarms of small drones that are each equipped with a light and act as “floating pixels”. These drones would be able to change the color of their lights as needed which would enable an operator to program them to make picture or abstract displays that look like fireworks. While this certainly isn’t the first time that a company has tried something like this, Disney is trying to add enough specificity to warrant a patent.
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