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    May 2001
    Imaginoppolis, Imagination Island
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    Exclamation Walt Disney Imagineering Files Patent For Interactive Hotel Rooms

    Walt Disney Imagineering has recently filed a patent application that could be used in hotel rooms at its US Domestic Hotels:

    Quote Originally Posted by USPTO Patent Application 20180103287

    Multimedia system for transforming any room into a show environment

    Relevant Background

    There are many settings where it is desirable to provide in-room entertainment to make people's stay in that room or space more enjoyable. These spaces may range from waiting areas (e.g., airport and other transportation staging areas, health and other service waiting rooms, and so on) to hotel rooms to a room in someone's home, and each of these spaces may be considered a “room” in this description. To date, the types of entertainment provided in these spaces or “in-room” has been quite limited.

    For example, hotel rooms have long been rather generic environments distinguished from each other mainly by their furnishings, decor, the hotel's location, and out-of-room amenities provided in the hotel or its grounds. Conventional thinking in the hotel industry has been that it is desirable to make their guest very comfortable while they sleep but to otherwise encourage their guests to leave their room to partake in entertaining activities such as shopping and dining on-site or elsewhere in a resort or nearby city.

    The idea of in-room entertainment generally has been to provide room service for dining and providing a television (and, in some cases, a media content player and game system) to entertain the guests. Specifically, in-room entertainment provided in hotel rooms has typically been limited to providing pay-per-view movies, television programming, and video games on a television in the hotel room. Nearly all in-room entertainment advances have been directed at making the television the single portal that the guest uses for their pleasure and business life.

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    The in-room show system generally includes a controller for selectively operating a display device (e.g., a television or the like), a video projector, an audio system (e.g., one or more speakers), and other show components (e.g., one or more lights (which may include black lights), a fan, a mechanical device (e.g., mechanical props), electrical devices (e.g., illusionary props), and so on). Media content is predefined for the room or is provided in real time to suit the room, and the controller operates (such as in response to a triggering switch or remote control device that may take the form of a show prop activated by someone in the room) to serve the media content to tell a story and/or magically transform the space into a multidimensional and immersive entertainment space.

    The operations of the in-room show system may, for example, involve the triggering device or remote control being operated to activate a particular show (or set of content). In response, the controller may operate the display device (or television) to display a first set of visual content (e.g., a still or video image) while the audio system is operated to provide a paired set of audio content. The controller may next act to cause the projector to project a second set of visual content (light from the projector projects still or video images) onto surfaces of the room next to or adjacent to the display device such that these images appear to originate from and be expanding outward from the display device. The audio content played by the audio system may be chosen to suit the new projected content as well as that provided by the display device.

    At this point in operations, the display device and projector may both be providing video (or still) imagery that is synchronized and/or matched to tell a single story or set a single scene. The controller may next (or concurrently) operate the other show components to make the show presentation more rich and exciting such as by turning lights on or off, by changing the brightness of lights, by changing light colors, by turning a fan on or off or to a higher or lower setting to provide a wind effect, by activating a mechanical or electrical device in the room (e.g., a mechanical toy may start operating, a picture frame with lights may be turned), and so on. The activation of any of these show components may by synchronized with the projected or displayed content, e.g., to have a streak of light be projected, from an object or character displayed by the display device, by the projector to “strike” a lamp that is then illuminated (turned on) by the controller (e.g., a projected stream of stars from a wand could pass over a location of a lamp in the room causing it to be ignited or turned on at a particular color and brightness). In this way, the different types of media and show system components may appear to interact to provide the new in-room entertainment experience.

    More particularly, an in-room show system is described for providing entertainment with multimedia content matched to a particular space (e.g., a room). The system includes a display device (e.g., a television or the like) positioned in a room and a projector (e.g., a video projector such as a microprojector) positioned in the room for projecting on one or more surfaces in the room. The system also includes an audio system for providing audio output into the room. Further, a show controller is included in the system for operating the system based on a show file defining display content, projector content, and audio content for a show (e.g., a multimedia show designed specifically for the room). For example, the controller controls the display device to display the display content, the projector to project the projector content onto the one or more surfaces in the room, and the audio system to output the audio content for the show into the room.

    In some implementations, the display content, the projector content, and the audio content are time synchronized to each other based on a timeline for the show. Further, the projector content is mapped to the one or more surfaces in the room using projection mapping (e.g., video from the projector appears to match and/or originate the content displayed on the display device). In some cases, the display device is a television (e.g., a conventional flatscreen television) mounted on a wall of the room. The projector content may include video content matching the display content displayed on the television, and the display device and the projector are concurrently operated for at least a portion of the show. The projection mapping may include the television and the video content includes a blacked out area coinciding with an area of the wall where the television is mounted, whereby light output from the projector is projected on surfaces of the wall excluding the television.

    To further enhance the show presentation in the room, the audio system includes speakers spaced around the room to provide surround sound, and the audio content includes a soundtrack matching both the display content and the projector content. To further the multimedia aspect of the experience, the show system may include a lighting system with lighting elements that are independently operable to turn on and off, to have a range of brightness, and to have two or more colors. Then, the show file may define lighting for the show, and the show controller operates each of the lighting elements to provide the lighting defined by the show file. The show system may also include a remote control device (e.g., a client device, a show prop, or the like) operable by a person in the room to transmit a show trigger signal to the show controller, and the show controller responds to receipt of the show trigger signal to initiate operation of the display device, the projector, and the audio system based on the show file.

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