Disney’s Magic Bench lets you share space with Animated Characters – ZMR Blog
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Disney’s Magic Bench lets you share space with Animated Characters

Disney’s Magic Bench lets you share space with Animated Characters

Disney research has come up with a new Magic Bench that lets one share the seat with charming animated characters without the need of special headsets or glasses. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to share the seat with one of your favorite cartoon characters? No denying. In this Magic Bench scenario, the whole environment that is the sitter, the seat, and the humanoid cartoon characters are fully mirrored on a screen kept opposite to the bench so as to make the complete scene visible to others.

For unfolding the scene, there is a camera and sensor present that capture the whole images and detailed information about the objects including the individual and the bench. The algorithm integrates these objects with the 3D animations. The haptic sensors attached to the bench help bring about vibrations that correspond to the animated actions on the screen and thus create an illusion that the animated figure really exists next to the user.

The basic motto of the project that the researchers believed was “hear a character coming, see them enter the space, and feel them sit next to you.” The use of the mobile technology and special optical devices help superimpose augmented reality over animated elements and make it look real. The Magic Bench lets a number of people flock around the single environment and simultaneously participate in the augmented reality scene. However, there is a huge drawback that this experience can be viewed only by a single user itself.

Animated Characters

For testing the bench, a person with a small cartoon donkey trotting towards the bench creates a sharp sound such that the seated person jumps in surprise. Similarly, in another scene, a rabbit leaps around the seated person and jumps up and down. Even the individual touching the rabbits portrays a dark shadow. All this is made possible using the sensors and camera in the Microsoft Kinect to capture the augmented-reality experience. The scene has been built in the 3D environment with the bench, foreground, and background. Even the smallest of the difference in the alignment or missing data caused gaps in the images called “depth shadows”.

To eradicate such errors, 2D background was captured by the Kinect’s RGB camera. The sharing of the space with animated characters is just the trick of technology. This Magic Bench has been presented by the Disney Research at the SIGGRAPH 2017 (an annual conference and exhibition on computer graphics and interactive techniques) from July 30, 2017, to August 3, 2017.

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