Touch-based stimuli has been on the rise for several years to help blind people experience things they otherwise miss out on. Vibration that somehow communicates information is known as haptic feedback (like on a video game controller), and Disney Research has been spending quite a bit of time developing “Feeling Fireworks” for the visually impaired.
Feeling Fireworks helps blind and low vision people experience a firework display, obviously what is normally a primarily visual event – and an important one if you’re visiting a Disney park.
The display features a latex screen with a projector in front and water jets behind it. A computer controls the jet sprays, which draw the shapes of fireworks so users can feel them on the screen through the flexible surface. A video projector creates a corresponding image to the fireworks on the front of the screen.
Disney Research tested the contraption on 18 subjects with normal eyesight, and they found that their subjects had a 66% success rate at matching the water jet/haptic firework to the video image that represented the same firework. There are no plans to use the cool new technology in any Disney parks as of now, but hopefully it’ll make it there one day.
Watch this cool video and see for yourself how it works.
h/t: Popular Science