Sunday, July 31, 2016

Foot spies in Disneyland

Disney Enterprises recently received a patent for a system in an amusement park that would allow the company to secretly capture imagery of guests’ feet, to track them throughout Disneyland or Disney World. The system involves scans and photographs of people’s feet, and in one scenario uses a robot to gather imagery and collect personal data including “at least one of a guest name, favorite character, favorite food, hometown, and/or favorite ride.” Paired with images of a visitors’ feet, the data would allow Mickey to create “a customized guest experience based on the guest information.” The robot may also include a movement mechanism allowing the robot to roam the amusement park or a portion thereof and an input/output interface for receiving guest information from the guest. At first sight this technology represents a more customer-friendly approach but the clear intention is to “acquire” the images without the visitor knowing. As the individual moves throughout the entertainment venue, a reacquisition detecting system detects one or more various characteristics of the individual’s foot, shoe, and/or leg and attempts to match the foot characteristics with a pre-stored or previously acquired individual. It is claimed acquiring and reacquiring guests at different locations in the amusement park can provide data to the amusement park owners, such as the most popular rides, common guest paths from ride to ride. Additionally, 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. Disney have no immediate plans to introduce the new technology to their theme parks but according to experts if and when they do they may run into privacy and legal issues relating to taking pictures of people’s feet without their informed consent.

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