Being both in the manufacturing and theming industries, we are seeing a lot of positive changes in the world of technology. The lines between reality and virtual experiences are blurred and multi-dimensional print fabrication is within grasp. Here are some Emerging Technologies that are revolutionizing our industry.
4D Printing & Self Assembly
Most everyone has at least heard of 3D printing, if not used it, but have you ever heard of 4D printing? The idea is to start out with an object, program it to react to specific exterior stimuli, and once it is affected by that exterior stimuli, it changes shape. Imagine a string-like structure that, once immersed in water, proceeds to form into a more structural “U” shape. MIT researchers might be on the brink of making it feasible, at least for small projects. The future of this technology is bright as it may lead to self-healing structures, roads that accommodate terrain, and self-evolving buildings. Wouldn’t that be neat?
Immersive Experiences are made up of three different categories – Augmented Reality, a virtual overlay on the real world, Virtual Reality, being able to step into another world, and Mixed Reality, which is a blend of the previous two. Augmented Reality is already taking place on mobile apps, like the popular “Pokémon GO!” game. In it, you can catch Pokémon around your own neighborhood! Virtual Reality is also gaining popularity with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift as tools for gaming, design, construction, and manufacturing. “The VOID” is an evolving mixed reality attraction. Gamers wear a headset that allows them to navigate real obstacles cloaked as obstacles in the environment and gear that allows them to feel when and where they get hit within the game. When immersive experiences come to mind, most people think of video games, however augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are all proving to be helpful in the world of design and construction. Businesses can now provide “hands-on” training without risk and provide walkthroughs or demonstrations of proposed structures to clients. Theme parks are even integrating these immersive experiences into VR roller-coasters and dark rides.
Interactivity and Personalization
Now more than ever, we can interact with and personalize the world around us. This is especially true with new theme park technologies. Have you ever purchased a Disney Magic Band? All your ticket information along with a plethora of personal information is stored on these wrist bands. This is how Disney is testing interactivity and personalization through technology. If you’ve ever ridden Haunted Mansion, you may notice from time-to-time that the ghosts say they are headed to your home town! The ride reads information on the magic band and incorporates that information into the user experience. Other theme parks are testing this technology, as well. It will promote new rides in which the user can determine the path or outcome. Disney is also testing technology where ride intensity can be ramped up or toned down based on user facial recognition.
Technology is evolving every day and it is bringing some exciting changes to our industry! To keep up with industry news, attractions, and what we are doing here at Treadway Industries, remember to check back with our blog monthly!
Coral is Treadway Industries’ Design & Development Assistant. She is a native Floridian with an ingrained appreciation for theme parks, entertainment, and design. Her hobbies include art, jumping around to local festivals, and spending time with her cat, Bonnie.