Although many love to hate Disney, one cannot deny that the company often leads the world in new technologies. From being one of the first companies to use animatronics in its theme parks to creating cutting edge animation techniques, Disney is always at the forefront of innovation.
Now, Disney is at it again, by patenting a new toy technology that allows real toys to interact with smart devices through a magnetic field source.
The system works like this: a magnetic toy gets placed on a touchscreen display, allowing the child to use a magnetized guidance system to interact with that toy.
Patent Yogi created a video explaining how this new technology would work:
The magnetic toy would include a magnetic source, which gets placed underneath a tablet. The toy gets placed on top of the table: in the example shown, the toy is a model of Cars' Lightning McQueen on a display that shows a road. Then the display goes into video game mode. When Lightning drives across gravel, the magnetic field causes the toy to vibrate to simulate what would happen if a real car ran across real gravel. The magnetic field can also allow Lightning to jump over obstacles.
In another example, a spinning top gets placed on a display: when someone spins the top, the magnetic field simulates edges so that the top stays on the screen and doesn't wander beyond it. More impressively, though, the magnetic technology can create a game of chess with real chess pieces, with the pieces for a computer opponent moving on their own with the help of the magnetic field.
The idea is to use real toys, which children and parents still often prefer,but with technology to interact with those toys in new ways.
Disney also recently innovated wearable technology with its MagicBands, which allows visitors to Walt Disney World the chance to wear a wrist bracelet that is not only their hotel room key, but also acts as their theme park tickets, Fast Passes for theme park attractions, Photo Pass to access photos taken within the park by Disney World photographers and credit cards for making purchases within the resort.