For all their possible positive uses, unmanned aerial vehicles don’t exactly have the greatest public image—much like puppets, they’re an inherently creepy and untrustworthy human innovation. According to recently-published patents, Disney has finally found a way to marry two of civilization’s most unsettling technologies in a live show featuring blimp-sized marionettes, interactive images, and actual flying Dumbos. Take a gander at this not-at-all horrifying image of a giant Jack Skeleton puppet from one of said docs to see what I mean:
I’m naturally cautious about combining puppets with illegal robots (we would be helpless against a run-amok giant Olaf, guys. Helpless!) but Disney’s plans for their dronesys, outlined in patents uncovered by Stitch Kitchen, actually sound amazing. The Daily Dot explains that the new technology would allow the parks to pull off puppet shows involving multiple blimp-sized characters, and to improve upon current projection technology by using drones to display nighttime “interactive images” above the lagoons. The patents also point out that these innovations, if implemented, would allow park characters to actually fly for the first time ever.
Unfortunately for Disney park-goers excited by the possibility of these new whosits and whatsits, the FAA has blocked the commercial use of drones since 2007, partially to prevent companies like Amazon from delivering packages aerially. Disney may wind up putting money and time into capitalizing on their patent and not be able to actually use the technology until well into the future, especially since the FAA reiterated in June that the commercial use of drones is still illegal, even for testing purposes.
Personally, I’m not bothered that Disney parks will remain drone-less for the near future, especially considering that the politics behind the new technology are so murky. If anything, I hope Universal Studios gets its drone fix first: how awesome would an actual airborne game of Quidditch be?
- FAA Kills Amazon’s Drone-Delivery Plans, and Our Dreams of Robots Bringing Us Stuff
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- Colorado Town Shoots Down Proposal to Allow Residents to Shoot Down Drones