Disney Research recently released a white paper on its experiment with Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality. They address the one challenge that was stopping the widespread adoption of Mixed reality in everyday business scenarios – the requirement that the user wear an expensive device on his self and thereby literally get transported to a different world and it was an isolated experience for this user.
We create a solution for multi-user interactions in AR/MR, where a group can share the same augmented environment with any computer generated (CG) asset and interact in a shared story sequence through a third-person POV. Our approach is to instrument the environment leaving the user unburdened of any equipment, creating a seamless walk-up-and-play experience. We demonstrate this technology in a series of vignettes featuring humanoid animals. Participants can not only see and hear these characters, they can also feel them on the bench through haptic feedback. Many of the characters also interact with users directly, either through speech or touch. In one vignette an elephant hands a participant a glowing orb. This demonstrates HCI in its simplest form: a person walks up to a computer, and the computer hands the person an object
As you can see, the experience with this “magic bench” is not only simple but also has the possibility for multiple people sharing the same experience.
Once the Disney team is able to build this to scale, I can see many applications of this in the real world.
Some of them could be:
- Customer Service: Augmented reality customer service engagement at different retail stores. This experience can give the consumers a reason to visit the store rather than buy everything online.
- Movie promotions: This will allow Disney and other movie franchisees to allow their customers to have an interaction with their favourite movie characters.
- Book Promotions: Just like there can be an engagement built with the users favourite movie characters, people can also interact with their favorite book characters and maybe the authors themselves.
- Mass personalization of Brand advertisements: Brands can use these benches to hyper-personalise their by immersing their consumers as part of the advertisement itself, there by creating stronger bonding with the brand.
- Stories abound: Add to this an AI bot that can engage with the user and have an improvisational dialogue and co-create a story with the user. This would just be amazing to see. We could have a “Whose Line is it anyway” with a virtual character in play (played by an AI bot).
These are just a very few ideas that I can think of. I am sure you can think up a lot more uses for these magic benches.
I see enormous potential for this technology if this is developed and opened up to entrepreneurs to play with.
The question is will Disney make it available for developers and entrepreneurs learn and play with their creation?