Disney Research

Disney Research is a network of research labs supporting The Walt Disney Company

Transforming walls into sensors and interactive surfaces with a paint job

Smart Walls React to Human Touch, Sense Activity in Room Walls are what they are — big, dull dividers. With a few applications of conductive paint and some electronics, however, walls can become smart infrastructure that sense human touch, and detect things like gestures and when appliances are used. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney

Transforming walls into sensors and interactive surfaces with a paint job

Disney Research takes another big step towards a functioning holodeck

Mixed Reality (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR) create exciting opportunities to engage users in immersive experiences, resulting in natural human-computer interaction. Many MR interactions are generated around a First-person Point of View (POV). In these cases, the user directs to the environment, which is digitally displayed either through a head-mounted display or a handheld computing device. One drawback of such conventional

Disney Research takes another big step towards a functioning holodeck

Ultra-wideband backscatter communication for the Internet of Things

Disney Research demonstrates ultra-wideband backscatter communication Internet of things (IoT) systems usually link networks of sensors via radio, but radios demand battery power thus limiting usability. Disney Research has determined that one solution may be to get rid of the radios all together and communicate via the ambient radio waves from TV, radio and cell

Ultra-wideband backscatter communication for the Internet of Things

LED Bulbs Can Both Light a Room, Provide a Communications Link

Researchers at Disney Research and ETH Zurich have demonstrated that consumer-grade light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs can, with some modifications, do double duty — both illuminating a room and providing a communications link for devices in that room. This visible light communication (VLC) system would be suitable for connecting the many devices, such as appliances, wearable

LED Bulbs Can Both Light a Room, Provide a Communications Link

Get ready for the iBall – Disney breakthrough could lead to round phones and realistic robot eyes

Forget flexible screens, Disney‘s research lab has invented a new 3D printing process that can make tiny, round screens that could lead to a new generation of spherical gadgets. The firm has even worked out how to make the text readable on a round screen, meaning even apps could be usable – and raising the

Get ready for the iBall – Disney breakthrough could lead to round phones and realistic robot eyes

Carnegie Mellon-Disney Motion Tracking Technology Is Extremely Precise and Inexpensive With Minimal Lag

Technology Could Transform Games, But Applications Don’t Stop There Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh have devised a motion tracking technology that could eliminate much of the annoying lag that occurs in existing video game systems that use motion tracking, while also being extremely precise and highly affordable. Called Lumitrack, the technology

Carnegie Mellon-Disney Motion Tracking Technology Is Extremely Precise and Inexpensive With Minimal Lag

Ambient Energy Could Replace Batteries

Stray heat, electromagnetic fields or even mechanical sources can provide power for portable electronics and other devices Disposable and rechargeable batteries that power tens of millions of portable electronics could become obsolete over the coming decades as new technologies come to market that can convert ambient energy into usable electric power, new research shows. The

Ambient Energy Could Replace Batteries

Disney’s Aireal delivers precise tactile feedback out of thin air

With systems like the Kinect and Leap Motion, controlling a gadget with just the wave of a hand is starting to become much more commonplace. The one drawback to those gesture-based devices however is that you never actually touch anything. No matter what you see on the screen, you’re still very aware that you’re just moving your hands

Disney’s Aireal delivers precise tactile feedback out of thin air

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    on January 9, 2020 at 7:56 am

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    on January 7, 2020 at 1:39 pm

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Touch Your Philodendron and Control Your Computer: Technology Turns Any Plant Into an Interactive Device

Any houseplant — real or artificial — could control a computer or any digital device with this technology

A yucca plant might make your office desk look nice, but with a new technology developed at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, that little shrub could possibly control your computer. And the jade plant nearby? Put your hand close to it and your iPod could start playing your favorite tunes.

Any houseplant — real or artificial — could control a computer or any digital device with this technology, called Botanicus Interactus. Once a single wire is placed anywhere in the plant’s soil, the technology can detect if and where a plant is touched, or even if someone gets near the plant.

Disney researchers will demonstrate an interactive garden of real and artificial plants at SIGGRAPH Emerging Technology, Aug. 5-9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Turning a houseplant into a device for interacting with computers and digital media no longer seems all that strange, contends Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research, Pittsburgh.

“Computing is rapidly fusing with our dwelling places and, thanks to touchpads and Microsoft Kinect, interaction with computers is increasingly tactile and gestural,” he explained. “Still, this interaction is limited to computing devices. We wondered — what if a broad variety of everyday objects around us could interact with us?”

Read more . . .

Revolutionary Technology Enables Objects to Know Your Touch

‘Smart Doorknobs’ and Gesture-Controlled Smartphones

A doorknob that knows whether to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped, a smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips and a chair that adjusts room lighting based on recognizing if a user is reclining or leaning forward are among the many possible applications of Touché, a new sensing technique developed by a team at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Touché is a form of capacitive touch sensing, the same principle underlying the types of touchscreens used in most smartphones. But instead of sensing electrical signals at a single frequency, like the typical touchscreen, Touché monitors capacitive signals across a broad range of frequencies.

This Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS) makes it possible to not only detect a “touch event,” but to recognize complex configurations of the hand or body that is doing the touching. An object thus could sense how it is being touched, or might sense the body configuration of the person doing the touching.

SFCS is robust and can enhance everyday objects by using just a single sensing electrode. Sometimes, as in the case of a doorknob or other conductive objects, the object itself can serve as a sensor and no modifications are required. Even the human body or a body of water can be a sensor.

“Signal frequency sweeps have been used for decades in wireless communication, but as far as we know, nobody previously has attempted to apply this technique to touch interaction,” said Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. “Yet, in our laboratory experiments, we were able to enhance a broad variety of objects with high-fidelity touch sensitivity. When combined with gesture recognition techniques, Touché demonstrated recognition rates approaching 100 percent. That suggests it could immediately be used to create new and exciting ways for people to interact with objects and the world at large.”

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