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The flixels are coming! The flixels are coming!

August 28, 2014


The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Walt Disney Company filed for three patents involving flying entertainment robots , a growing segment in the emerging service robotics industry.

One of those patents involves a multi-drone system flying projection screens for nighttime displays, hence the Disney Imagineer word creation for “floating pixels, flixels.”

Earlier we reported that Robotic Arts, a Las Vegas designer and integrator of robots used for entertainment purposes, was working with Royal Caribbean International, a large cruise ship company, to robotically position projection screens in a theater to give special effects.

The 2nd patent application involves positioning the flexible projection screens within a specific air space, in effect, the software/piloting side of the display. Both patents could be seen as enabling a high-tech digital fireworks show, or some other type of show, without the pyrotechnics, or with some combination of the two processes.

The 3rd patent would use multiple drones tethered to balloons or super-large puppets to make them move and walk as the drones control the puppets limbs from the air instead of the present method of Disney workers walking alongside and pulling strings to make the puppets move.

Frank Tobe
guest author
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

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