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Disney Interactive Virtual Adventure (DIVA)

For the final project, my team designed a virtual motion theater ride for Disney through ImagiNations Design Competition. We were one of the finalist teams that were invited to present the design in Disneyland in 2005.

University of Waterloo Media Relations | Walt Disney Imagineering Communications (Screen capture)

Overview of Design Idea

While people go to theme park to enjoy time with families and friends, visitors often show little interest in interacting with others. For this reason, a ride is proposed to enhance the relationship within visitor groups and provide an opportunity for people to make friendly connections with strangers. The social interaction is fostered by a common goal and an interactive media to encourage interactions and collaboration while they play. Designed to give park visitors an experience that is exciting, engaging, and memorable each time they visit; DIVA is a virtual interactive motion-simulated ride for all age group that make use of image-processing techniques to foster social interaction and is a ride that participant could not stop themselves from revisiting.

The ride allows the visitors to freely navigate through the virtual space, pick up objects along the way, and fight villains all through communication and cooperation. Seated in a vehicle in group of four, visitors first experience an electronically-operated waterfall or forest scenery on a track and gradually transverse into the virtual world. In the virtual world, all visitors inside a vehicle can control the virtual movement of the vehicle using their body motions (e.g. leaning body, stomping feet or hand waving) while collecting gadgets to fight villains. Visitors are thus required to coordinate their motions since motions are interpreted in real-time to alter ride outcomes. Mechanical movements and vibration of the seat will complement the motions to provide additional motion feedback to the users. After the virtual tour, they transverse gradually back to the reality world to fight a villain using the gadgets they have collected together with two other vehicles. Visitors can explore different routes and experiment with different virtual objects each time they visit. By giving visitors a common goal to achieve as a group, it gives the group a sense of unity and adds additional excitement to the adventure.

Motion Tracking

In our proposed design, participants are able to control the movement of their vehicle and navigate through the virtual environment using collaborative physical body movements.

For our prototype, the movements are captured through a camera and recognized using image processing and pattern recognition algorithms. Each frame of the video input is analyzed to determine whether the person is leaning left or right. This process involves taking the raw images through a fixed camera in front of the subject (1). And by subtracting the background and applying a simple pattern recognition algorithm (2), we can determine the movement of the subject (3). (N.B. The last picture might take a while to display depending on your connection speed. If you're having a problem, you can download and view it directly from here.)


Here are some sample renderings of our design. (Entirely modelled and rendered by me.)