Disney Enterprises has had a patent approved for a “virtual world simulator” by the United States Patent Office, signalling a metaverse move for its theme parks.
The technology would include a projection device as well as tracking system enabling Disney to display virtual effects on to a real-world venue as a user, e.g. theme park visitor, moves about.
A computing platform communicates with the projection device and tracking sytem in the background to map the venue and identify the virtual effects to display.
The patent document provides background around the ability of augmented reality to provide users with the feeling of engaging with a virtual world to provide a more immersive and engaging experience.
It goes on to describe some of the limitations of AR such as the cost of devices, the health and hygiene implications of sharing devices and the need for the use of personal AR-enabled devices which precludes many people from enjoying the same experience.
The document concludes that there is a need for something that enables an immersive experience for many uses but tailored to the vantage point of each user.
In its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 results, Disney talked of using the power of its platform and “new technologies to give consumers the best entertainment experience possible.”
CEO Bob Chapek said: “ Our company is truly unique in that we have a significant presence in the physical world through our parks and resorts, as well as media and entertainment assets in the digital world.
"And it is incredible to see how our use of emerging technology and insights gained through our innumerable consumer touchpoints is enabling us to transform the way people interact with and experience our stories and products in both worlds.”
He described development so far as “merely a prologue to a time when we’ll be able to connect the physical and digital worlds even more closely, allowing for storytelling without boundaries in our own Disney metaverse.”
Few travel brands have showed their cards when its comes to the metaverse so far.
Marriott International said it was tapping digital artists to create travel-inspired non-fungible tokens in December as part of its move into the "digital goods space."
According to a statement, the company plans to continue building a presence in the metaverse in 2022.
Meanwhile, a mixed reality lounge called MetaTerrace has been opened in the Central Park Towers in Dubai's financial district.
Cryptocurrency specialist ColossalBit is behind the move, which features a virtual-reality room, and says it's a convergence of the physical and virtual worlds.