In Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, a young girl’s team of inner feelings grapple for control of her emotional welfare. Someday soon, if a Disney patent application is any indication, theme park visitors could well be living their own version of the film as their emotions take control of their experience.
The new technology would enable ride vehicles to determine an occupant’s ‘passenger state’ using sensors and cameras to collect the data required to craft a bespoke adventure for the individual. Find the ride boring? The attraction could speed things up and raise the intensity of turns and drops. Want to take it easy? Some show elements could be removed from the ride to offer a calmer, more laid back experience. With an increasing number of Disney park visitors wearing their hearts on their sleeves in the form of MagicBands, it’s safe to assume that the wearable tech will also play a role in the system.
The patent application explains, “the passenger state is an emotional state or a level of attention of the passenger generated during the processing of the passenger data based on a facial expression identified in the digital image of the face of the passenger, and wherein the processing step includes comparing the emotional state or the level of attention with ranges of values for emotional state or level of attention, respectively, that are predefined for the amusement park ride.”
As theme park competition and technologies like virtual reality encroach on Disney’s turf, a ride system with the ability to cater to a riders’ mood could prove to be the real-life emotional rollercoaster the company needs to maintain it’s edge.