Tag Archives | Disney
Who says the Panopticon has to be gloomy? Children will be thrilled to find that Mickey Mouse already knows everything about them. ANIMAL New York writes:
In an effort to give its theme park patrons a more customized, interactive experience, Disney is adopting the tactics of law enforcement agencies everywhere: giving out wristbands embedded with tracking devices and information about the people wearing them.
Uses for the wristbands, dubbed “MyMagic+,” range from the pedestrian–like tracking purchases and attractions visited, presumably to serve up targeted advertisements–to the surreal. If a child wearing a MyMagic+ band approaches a Cinderella mascot, for example, Cinderella could be automatically informed of the child’s information, so she can greet him or her by name. Fortunately, the devices are strictly optional for now.
“We want to take experiences that are more passive and make them as interactive as possible,” said Bruce Vaughn, Disney Imagineering’s chief creative executive. “Moving from, ‘Cool, look at that talking bird,’ to ‘Wow, amazing, that bird is talking directly to me.”
We propose a complete process for designing, simulating, and fabricating synthetic skin for an animatronics character that mimics the face of a given subject and its expressions. We use physics-based simulation to predict the behavior of a face when it is driven by the underlying robotic actuation. Next, we capture 3D facial expressions for a given target subject. We demonstrate this computational skin design by physically cloning a real human face onto an animatronics ﬁgure.
BPS Occupational Digest discusses the model pioneered by Disney of what is termed “emotional labor” — the mandatory extreme cheeriness and masterful mood control which has become a widespread part of service industry work:
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Walt himself, having observed frowns and negativity on tours of the grounds, insisted on Disney University, a mandatory training process for every employee, that more than anything else is an extended emotion regulation regime…trainees are taken through methods of managing facial and voice cues to maintain a happy, relaxed, and accessible approach. This is effectively a masterclass in surface acting.
However, research suggests that Disney employees actively involved in surface acting are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. This accords with broader evidence that surface acting is hard work. Other research indicates that buttoning back anger is the hardest thing to do for Disney employees, and having to keep doing so is a major driver of emotional exhaustion.
Scientists employed by the Walt Disney Company have developed technology that allows them to replicate, with near perfect accuracy, the very versatile human face. Documents posted on the official Disney Research website details plans for what they refer to as physical face cloning...
Ah, humanity — we travel to the far reaches of our solar system, only to find our own corporate logos. Space.com reports:
A NASA spacecraft has captured a spectacular photo of Mercury craters arranged in a shape that looks just like Disney’s iconic cartoon mouse. The photo comes from the Messenger spacecraft in orbit around Mercury and shows a giant crater topped with two smaller impact basins to create the recognizable shape.
The Mickey Mouse on Mercury is formed by a huge crater about 65 miles (105 kilometers) wide that was later peppered by other impacts to create the “ears.
And you thought your childhood was psychologically damaging. The Mickey Mouse gas mask was designed to usher children into the age of biological warfare by turning chemical weapons attacks into a “game.”
An initial run of 1,000 masks was produced, but they were never used, and after the war were distributed to senior officers as keepsakes. Via Gasmasklexicon:
The Mikey Mouse gas mask for children was created in January 1942 by the Sun Rubber Company and designer Dietrich Rempel, with Walt Disney’s approval. This design was presented to Major General William N. Porter, Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service. The mask was designed so children would carry it and wear it as part of a game…
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Though still a long way from being tested in humans, the implant demonstrates for the first time that a cognitive function can be improved with a device that mimics the firing patterns of neurons. In recent years neuroscientists have developed implants that allow paralyzed people to move prosthetic limbs or a computer cursor, using their thoughts to activate the machines.
In the new work, being published Friday, researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California used some of the same techniques to read neural activity. But they translated those signals internally, to improve brain function rather than to activate outside appendages.
“It’s technically very impressive to pull something like this off, given our current level of technology,” said Daryl Kipke, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the experiment.
At the world’s most beloved theme park, thousands of interns serve the fast food, operate the rides, and mop up children’s vomit in what is billed as an “educational experience.” Is this the economic model of the future? Via Guernica:
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Like other employers, Disney has mastered how to rebrand ordinary jobs as exciting opportunities. “We’re not there to flip burgers or to give people food,” a fast food intern told the Associated Press. “We’re there to create magic.” Yet training and education are afterthoughts: the kids are brought in to work. Having traveled thousands of miles and barely breaking even financially, they find themselves cleaning hotel rooms, performing custodial work, and parking cars in the guise of an academic exercise.
Like many a corporate titan, Disney likes to give the impression it’s in the education business. Disney University, born in 1955 as the company’s training division, predated McDonald’s Hamburger University, Motorola University, and others, prefiguring what Andrew Ross has called “the quasi-convergence of the academy and the knowledge corporation.”
In its scale, the Disney program is unusual, if not unique.