Disney’s Magic Bench Technology Brings Characters to Life

Disney’s Magic Bench Technology Brings Characters to Life

Disney has created a Magic Bench which brings animated characters to live, allowing direct interaction with them while sitting on the bench, according to Disney Research published on July 26, 2017.

AR is a solo experience which includes wearing headsets, however Disney research has transformed this experience into a group experience without the use of headsets. They provided a combination of mixed reality and augmented reality from sitting on a bench, which they call Magic Bench. The use of a camera, computer and a screen is what provides the magic effect.

The camera has a depth sensor which captures an image of the people sitting on the bench, and send it to a computer. The image is then augmented by the computer with animated characters, displaying this on a screen to the people sitting on the bench.

The bench also produces vibrations to stimulate effects such as a person sitting next to you or the effect of rain, which seem effective enough while combined with visuals from the screen. People sitting on the bench can also see themselves on the screen, creating a third point of view.

Participants gain an opportunity to share the same 3D space that computer generated characters occupy, instead of superimposing one video feed onto another.

The researchers will present the Magic Bench at a computer graphics and interactive techniques conference in Los Angeles, on July 30, 2017.

“This platform creates a multi-sensory immersive experience in which a group can interact directly with an animated character. Our mantra for this project was: hear a character coming, see them enter the space, and feel them sit next to you.” said Moshe Mahler, principal digital artist at Disney Research.

The Disney Magic Bench will provide the person or people sitting on it, experiences such as an elephant handing over a glowing orb to person, or the person being rained on or a donkey being  might get rained on. A sauntering tiny donkey might also be seen kicking the bench, making it appear as if the person is in a Disney movie.

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