Of all the upcoming Disney World updates, we’re pretty excited to see what Disney does with the Star Wars Hotel.
The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is set to be a 2-night ultra-immersive experience that opens in 2021. Aboard, you’ll be able to look out windows into space, operate the ship’s defense systems, and offer guests the chance to wield their own lightsaber. Woah! That lightsaber experience sounds pretty cool and, before today, we weren’t sure how we could ACTUALLY wield a lightsaber. Now though, Disney might have developed some tech that could help!
If you’ve hung around DFB before, you might know that we love to look into the patents that Disney is filing for their newest inventions. Well, we spotted one patent that has some pretty interesting language — some language that might be an EXACT description of part of Galactic Starcruiser’s lightsaber experience or a similar experience elsewhere in the Disney Parks!
The patent is for a new system that helps to bridge the gap between virtual reality (VR) experiences and the outside world. We’ve imagined that VR could be a good solution for bringing lightsabers to this reality and this patent seems to indicate that that’s EXACTLY what Disney intends to do. Fair warning! These details are pretty on-the-nose, so if you don’t want spoilers about a possible lightsaber experience, click away now!
Here are the pieces of the patent that could be describing a lightsaber experience. It says, “a VR user is instructed that…a tool or weapon (such as an energy sword or saber that is the physical object in this example) will be made available for their use. In the VR world, they will use their superpower of telekinesis to concentrate on moving the tool/weapon, and, when they concentrate with enough energy, the tool/weapon will fly through the air and land…in their hand.”
HOLD UP. Energy sword or saber? Telekinesis? Disney…did you mean to say “LIGHTSABERS” and “THE FORCE!?” It sure sounds like Disney has come up with a way for us to use the force to summon a lightsaber to our hands. Needless to say, we are freaking out.
The patent goes into even more detail saying, “The user is…asked to stretch out their hand to see whether they can cause the object to leap into their hand from a distance away… The user is asked to move their hand back and forth slowly to see whether they can attract the physical object… When the user moves their hand…the object holder rocks the physical object back and forth. The rocking strength is varied by the control system from barely moving to rocking back and forth violently as if trying to fly depending on how close the user’s hand is to the future ideal interaction position in the later VR experience.”
This is super interesting. Basically, the patent says that, prior to putting on any sort of helmet, you’ll be tasked with bringing the lightsaber to your hand with the Force. Of course, we’re first-time force users, so we won’t be immediately successful.
But, this “pre-show” as the patent calls it has two important effects. First, it “trains” the user where their hand should be for later in the experience (without the user knowing), and it helps with the story as the user feels like they’ve really accessed the Force. But the lightsaber can’t come flying into your hand just yet.
The patent continues, “After the user has tried unsuccessfully to pull the physical object to them without the [Head-Mounted Display] on, they are advised that their powers will be increased by dawning the [Head-Mounted Display] helmet, which may be disguised as a helmet from a particular movie or animation to fit the VR experience and/or otherwise themed to enhance the overall experience.”
Hmm…how could they theme the helmet, do you think? We have an idea. In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke uses a blast shield helmet to help him see through The Force. Another training helmet is used with Jedi Younglings in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. So there’s even in-universe precedent for a themed lightsaber-training helmet.
The patent goes on in less detail about how the system can be configured for sword fighting, “In some cases, the handover robot (or other robot with an object manipulator) may be controlled not to simply provide an object but to provide other physical interactions with the participant such as a sword or other fight in which a physical object strikes or contacts the participant’s body or an object they are already holding.”
Um…WOW. Did Disney REALLY just come up with a way to give us Jedi powers!? We’re honestly freaking out. Obviously, we won’t have any idea how this tech will be used until we see it applied in Galactic Starcruiser or elsewhere. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping an EXTRA close eye on those Disney patents and crossing our fingers that we’ll be using the force next year!
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Do YOU think this tech is for the lightsaber experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!