Disney Research’s Magic Bench allows users to interact with animated characters in an augmented-reality environment and the best part is that it doesn’t require a head-mounted display or special glasses.
Imagine sitting down in front of a screen and a tiny virtual elephant wanders into frame and asks you to move over so that he can sit down beside you. That’s just one of the demos for Disney Research’s Magic Bench, an innovative new device that allows multiple users to interact with AR characters. But the immersive goes beyond just visuals and offers a realm of touch too. Underneath the bench is an array of haptic actuators that correspond to the movements of the virtual character.
Given that this invention is coming from Disney’s research team, it’s easy to see the entertainment uses for the device. Could this possibly be the way people and kids interact with their augmented reality characters in future films? It’s not impossible. It’s a step closer to a real-life version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?