Disney has invented Lightsaber from Star Wars

Star Wars has captured the imagination of a generation. The super successful franchise is still very popular among audiences worldwide. The fight sequences using lightsabers are most memorable.

Ever since Star Wars series became a hit, the audience has had a visceral response to participate in the mythology, may be actually visit the place shown in these movies.

Disney plans to provide unique star wars’ related experiences to the audience. So, they are developing a theme park, named Star Wars Land. It will be developed at two places – Anaheim, California and Bay Lake, Florida.

Disney plans to bring the mythology of Star Wars into reality at these parks. The parks will be occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids. Starting from the look and feel of the buildings/streets, to the smells and even the food. For example, you will be able to get blue milk in the park. Visitors may be able to ride a Tauntaun, befriend Stormtroopers or better fight them.

Image Credit: YouTube/SuperKamiGuru9000

Some of the most invigorating Star Wars experiences are the awesome fight sequences using Lightsabers. Disney plans to recreate these fight sequences for live audiences at the Star Wars Land. The audience members can also participate in such fights using Lightsabers, that “kind of” work. So apart from enjoying the audio-visual experience, the audience will get to participate in performances as well.

How LightSaber works

To accomplish this, Disney has invented an audience interaction projection system that includes drones flying over the audience. The air above the audience is filled with some particulate matter such as water vapor, condensed water, liquid nitrogen, dust, and theatrical fog.

Some audience members are provided with faux Lightsabers. A faux Lightsaber includes LEDs to transmit IR light towards the drones. As an LED is turned on, IR rays are transmitted from the saber towards the drones, then an IR sensor built into the drones captures an image of the field of view with a bright spot at the position of the activated LED. The drone then projects visible light through particulate matter toward the faux light saber. Visible light passing through the particulate matter provides the illusion that the faux light saber has deflected a laser beam. Multiple LEDs are activated in sequence at various times to give the audience members the impression that the movements of the faux light sabers are deflecting multiple laser beams.

Further, faux Lightsabers provide a haptic feedback to the audience members each time LED is activated.

Moreover, an audience member can be provided with the impression that the faux Lightsabers missed some of the laser beams and that the laser beams hit the audience member’s body. To accomplish this, each audience member is provided with a haptic feedback vest (similar to the vest shown in image below) with multiple transducers that provide haptic feedback to the their body, when a “laser beam” hits the their body rather than the faux Lightsaber.

Image Credit: RoadTovr
Image Credit: RoadTovr

Fight sequences can be pre-planned and choreographed by programming the audience interaction projection system.

The system provides a variety of unique entertainment experiences. Currently, audiences watch entertainment such as theatrical performances, movies, lectures, concerts, sporting events and the like in a passive manner (i.e., as observers rather than participants). One contra-example used most often in sporting events and concerts is to give audience members props such as placards or lights that are used during some part of the performance to create an opportunity for audience interaction. However, these devices do not directly interact with the performance and performers occurring on stage or on the field. Hence, most audience members typically watch a performance with little or no participation in the performance.

Patent Information
Publication number: US 20160201888
Publication date: 14 Jul 2016
Filing date: 13 Jan 2015
Inventors: Jonathan Ackley; Lanny Smoot; Alfredo Ayala;