Disney discovers the best use of drones ever. Create Art.

Tinkerbell just might be able to fly over Main Street, U.S.A. without wires someday.

The concept could come true as the Walt Disney Co. seeks ways to incorporate drones into its theme parks.

Disney Imagineers have filed various patents that outline plans to use unmanned aircraft systems (drones) during nighttime shows – signaling a potential change in how the company engages crowds while keeping up with the latest technology.

“Fifty years ago, Disney would create the technology themselves, but now they adapt what’s already in use and turn it into their own purposes,” said David Koenig, author of “Mouse Tales,” which provides a behind-the-scenes look at Disneyland.

“It should be interesting to see how they use this,” Koenig said. “I think it will be a perfect match that will allow Disney to create new entertainment experiences.”

Lanterns and lights are attached to a fleet of drones that circle crowds watching a nighttime parade at Lotte World in South Korea, said Todd Regan, founder of Micechat, an independent website that reports on theme parks, especially Disney’s.

“Disney is forward-thinking enough to think about this technology now and find some entertainment value to it,” Regan said. “It doesn’t mean drones will actually make it into any shows, but it certainly does mean they have people researching this and don’t want competitors to steal their ideas.”

We (at PatentYogi) like it when art meets science and technology. This week we got such a patent for you, and not surprisingly, it comes from Disney.

Inventions are often a product of inventors’ fantasies…fantasies which are fueled by creativity.

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 latest patent discloses techniques to create amazing displays in the real world by using hundreds of drones carrying lights that mimic the fireflies. And just like Ray, there is a boss-drone that choreographs the dance of all the other drones.

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 boss-drone. The boss-drone then spreads this information to all the other drones. In addition, the boss drone also performs in-flight calculations based on wind conditions and updates 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.

What makes this invention actually work is its collision avoidance feature. Each drone has its own “personal space” and the moment a straying drone invades the personal space of an adjacent drone, a collision warning is transmitted to the straying drone.The straying drone then corrects its flight path and ensures that it’s out of the personal space of another drone. All this is done while the drones are still following their respective choreographed movements. And 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.

Patent Information
Publication number: US9102406 B2
Patent Title: Controlling unmanned aerial vehicles as a flock to synchronize flight in aerial displays
Publication type: Grant
Application number: US 13/768,823
Publication date: 11 Aug 2015
Filing date: 15 Feb 2013
Priority date: 15 Feb 2013
Also published as: US20140249693, US20150338855
Publication number: 13768823, 768823, US 9102406 B2, US 9102406B2, US-B2-9102406, US9102406 B2, US9102406B2
Inventors: James Alexander Stark, Clifford Wong, Robert Scott Trowbridge
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.


Patent Information
Publication number: US20140236388 A1
Patent Title: Aerial display system with floating pixels
Publication type: Application
Application number: US 13/769,007
Publication date: 21 Aug 2014
Filing date: 15 Feb 2013
Priority date: 15 Feb 2013
Also published as: US8862285, US9169030, US20140374535
Publication number: 13769007, 769007, US 2014/0236388 A1, US 2014/236388 A1, US 20140236388 A1, US 20140236388A1, US 2014236388 A1, US 2014236388A1, US-A1-20140236388, US-A1-2014236388, US2014/0236388A1, US2014/236388A1, US20140236388 A1, US20140236388A1, US2014236388 A1, US2014236388A1
Inventors: Clifford Wong, James Alexander Stark, Robert Scott Trowbridge
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.


Patent Information
Publication number: US20140233099 A1
Patent Title: Aerial display system with floating projection screens
Publication type: Application
Application number: US 13/768,955
Publication date: 21 Aug 2014
Filing date: 15 Feb 2013
Priority date: 15 Feb 2013
Also published as: US8825225
Publication number: 13768955, 768955, US 2014/0233099 A1, US 2014/233099 A1, US 20140233099 A1, US 20140233099A1, US 2014233099 A1, US 2014233099A1, US-A1-20140233099, US-A1-2014233099, US2014/0233099A1, US2014/233099A1, US20140233099 A1, US20140233099A1, US2014233099 A1, US2014233099A1
Inventors: James Alexander Stark, Robert Scott Trowbridge, Clifford Wong
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.


Patent Information
Publication number: US20140231590 A1
Patent Title: Aerial display system with marionettes articulated and supported by airborne devices
Publication type: Application
Application number: US 13/768,905
Publication date: 21 Aug 2014
Filing date: 15 Feb 2013
Priority date: 15 Feb 2013
Also published as: US8876571
Publication number: 13768905, 768905, US 2014/0231590 A1, US 2014/231590 A1, US 20140231590 A1, US 20140231590A1, US 2014231590 A1, US 2014231590A1, US-A1-20140231590, US-A1-2014231590, US2014/0231590A1, US2014/231590A1, US20140231590 A1, US20140231590A1, US2014231590 A1, US2014231590A1
Inventors: Robert Scott Trowbridge, James Alexander Stark, Clifford Wong
Original Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.


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