Disney is also planning to revolutionize the storybook we are so familiar with. Empty illustrated landscapes can come to life with characters, moving scenery or anything else you can imagine. Interactive storybooks can track where the user points the HideOut and reacts to create virtual interaction between projections and pictures on the page. This will transform the experience of reading a picture book by involving the user in the development of the story after turning each page.
The HideOut device will also be made available to developers so they can maximize it to the fullest with creative apps.
There are a few flaws to the system, which Disney researchers are working to fix. One of these issues is something called occlusion, where the user’s hand or a game object blocks the camera’s view of an infrared marker. Disney is hoping to overcome this issue by syncing up projections from two users.
Another problem happens when two people see the pre-distorted projection from two different angles. Since the researchers assume that the user will point the HideOut along his line of sight, anamorphic projection fails to produce the appropriate illusion for a person viewing from a very different position, like sitting at the opposite side of the table.
The latency in the reaction of the projector's images to the movement of the HideOut unit is only 167 ms, but the team would like to reduce this to achieve a more continuous and seamless experience. They plan to do this by designing a custom pipeline between the camera and projector to speed up signals.
The current system uses solvent-based IR inks made with acetone, cyclohexanone, or methanol. The Disney team is also working on a method of using water-based inks that can be applied using a regular inkjet printer.
The research on the HideOut system has been led by Karl Willis at Disney Research in Pittsburgh. Although the team wants to refine it and solve some critical issues like occlusion, the system is fully functional, and the biggest task that remains is making everything smaller.