Disney received a patent on July 19 for shoe-scanning technology to track visitors throughout its theme parks.
I have read several articles this week about a patent that Disney has been awarded that will enable them to track guests by their feet/shoes. Some will say that Disney is going too far with tracking. MagicBands tell Disney so much about a guest already. Disney’s current technology can show how much money you spend, where you like to stay, what attractions you like most, where you like to eat. How much more do they really need to know?
I think this newest technology can be a genius addition to the information they already have. Disney is already outstanding at moving traffic. Traffic patterns alone can be monitored and adjusted for crowd control. Better yet, can you imagine your child getting lost at Disney and Disney being able to track where the child’s steps took them and someone being able to get to your child within a very short time of Disney being notified?
Of course, that’s my own thinking and not what Disney has said the technology is for. I don’t even know if that would be possible. Here’s what is being reported about this new technology:
Disney has received a patent to take pictures of visitors’ feet at its theme parks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Specifically, the patent titled System and method using foot recognition to create a customized guest experience would scan guests shoes when they enter the park then track them as the move about. According to the Orlando Business Journal, this would allow Disney to track guests’ favorite rides and paths through the park. It could also allow them to have Donald Duck greet guests by name or get souvenir photos or videos to them more quickly. The scanners could discern everything from shoe color, to wear patterns, to gum stuck on the sole. Disney filed for the patent back in 2015; it was issued by the US Patent & Trademark Office on July 19.
Disney had already decided against using biometric scanning—such as fingerprinting, retinal scans, and facial recognition—to track visitors because it’s too invasive, the Stack reports. Plus those methods can be thrown off by things like hats and sunglasses. The company also didn’t want to track clothing because that would “require cameras that are visible to the person.” The shoe-scanning cameras throughout the park would be “out of a person’s line of sight.” Disney says it has no plans to actually use its foot camera patent. A spokesperson tells the Times that Disney files a lot of patents in an “ongoing effort to relentlessly innovate and push the boundaries of creativity and technology to create immersive experiences and legendary guest service.”
The patent, dubbed “system and method using foot recognition to create a customized guest experience,” seeks to use a mobile scanning mechanism or robot that would use a foot scanner to take depth information and a camera to take appearance information of a guest’s foot and use that data to determine various factors like the most popular rides and common paths guests take from ride to ride. The patent, issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on July 19 after originally being filed in April 2015, also describes the use of concealed sensors throughout a theme park that would track the guests’ movements and keep collecting data on that logistical information.
Gathering guest movements can help a theme park see where guests are spending most of their time, what walkways are being used the most and which rides are being visited most often so it can tweak operations and staff to those areas to improve efficiency. This is very much in line with what Disney’s MagicBands were designed to do by helping gather data on guests that could be used to see what stores are getting increased traffic and how the park could adjust to improve the experience in those areas.
“Recognizing individual guests or providing a method for an individual to register at certain rides or other attractions allows the amusement park to tailor certain experiences for the guest, such as creating a customized media output (e.g., photograph) directed to the particular guest,” said the patent.
Disney’s patent states this method would be less invasive than other biometric scanning methods like retinal or fingerprint methods or taking photographs for facial recognition. It states the foot scanners would be able to take detailed information on a shoe including the color, tread and wear patterns, stains and even if gum were on the bottom of the shoe — all to reduce confusion of following the wrong guest on the data collecting side.
What are your thoughts on this latest Disney technology?