"A New Piece of Cake: Disney’s Interactive Cake!"
By Adam Goswick
Was your last birthday cake boring, maybe adorned with just a few stationary flowers or balloons? Did you wish those balloons floated around on the surface of the cake? The last time you bought a fresh loaf of bread, did it interact with you when you sliced it into pieces? Do you long for a cookie that plays movie clips before you take a bite? Am I crazy for asking these questions?
The only one you may have answered yes to was the last one, but Disney would disagree with you. Apparently, the lack of interactive confections is a problem that Disney feels should be solved. That’s why they applied for a patent for “projector systems and methods for producing digitally augmented, interactive cakes and other food products.”
The basic gist of this idea is just how it sounds: this technology would utilize some form of projector to create an interactive image on a food surface. We’re not talking the bakery equivalent of a movie theater projector on a flat screen, though.
If Cake Boss has taught the world anything, it’s that not all cakes are created equal. The surface of a cake can take on just about any shape or size, and Disney’s patent accounts for that. The projectors would utilize some sort of depth perception technology to tell it how far away different parts of the cake are. The result? The projection would be appropriate depending upon where it falls on the cake.
What does that mean? Let’s say you make a cake, and you want the surface of that cake to feature some beautiful outdoor scenery. You painstakingly create everything, including a riverbank, but you’re not satisfied with just blue icing for your river. You want it to ebb and flow, even over your uneven terrain. Disney’s projection system can detect the subtle changes in elevation so your river can flow as natural as possible for a cake creation.
It also means that the path of the river can change depending upon what happens with the cake. Let’s say you cut a piece of cake, and the cut goes into part of the riverbank. The water, no longer contained by its banks, can now “flow” onto other parts of the cake – all because the projector can detect when you change or remove parts of the cake.
The other thing the projector can detect is when you interact with the cake. Disney’s patent includes a part the call a “wand” that allows you to interact with your dessert and change it to your heart’s content. Do you think there should be some flowers along that river? A wave of your wand can make it happen. Once again, the depth perception capabilities of the projector allow it to see where you move the wand.
Disney mentions more than just interactive cakes. A few of the other possibilities they explore are cookies, loaves of bread, and other confections. I’m wondering why something like this has to be limited to food. Can’t this sort of projection system be used for other interactive activities? I don’t have any specifics in mind, I’m just not sure why this is solely focused on cakes.
Which leads me to some of my other thoughts on interactive cake projection. Overall, I think it’s an interesting idea. I don’t see the need for it, but sometimes there isn’t a need for innovation. It wasn’t necessary to figure out how to synchronize sound with motion in cartoons. It was done for entertainment, and I think this is done simply for enjoyment. I’m not saying this development will go down in history next to Steamboat Willie, but it’s still a fun invention.
My main questions or problems with this idea are really threefold. First, where exactly does Disney see these cakes appearing? Do they want you to be able to go to your local bakery and ordering a Disney interactive cake? If so, I’m sure you’ll have to be renting some serious equipment (which leads into problems two and three, more on that later). Do they want this to be something you can order when celebrating at select locations that already have projection equipment (say celebrating a birthday or wedding at a Disney Park)? I think I understand that idea a little better. A premier cake for a premier event (or dessert party, perhaps) isn’t such a bad idea.
Problem number two, as some of the pictures in the patent show, this will require some serious equipment. We’ve already talked about projection equipment, which doesn’t look small in most cases. Many of the pictures show a projector mounted on top of a metal rod that comes up from the base of the cake. Not exactly elegant by any means. One of the pictures, however, shows a small decoration on the cake that functions as a projector. It looks remarkably like a webcam mounted on the cake. I like that idea a lot better, but I can see how it might not be as effective as the big projector.
Some of the things this projection system can do aren’t simple. We’ve talked about the projection changing upon interaction and the projection basically knowing the properties of water. This sounds like it’s going to require some processing power. You may not only need a projector, but a computer as well. One of the pictures shows a cake underneath a projector mounted on a steel rod, which is in turn connected to the depth sensing machine (it looks like a computer tower, basically). That’s some serious equipment for Johnny’s birthday.
Finally, all of this stuff won’t be thrown in for the price of the cake. What will it cost to get my future child an interactive cake? I can’t even imagine. If my logic is sound, I think the small webcam-like projector might be able to project a simple image or movie – and it might be the more affordable route. A simple “Happy Birthday” message or a video of Mickey blowing out your candles shouldn’t be too hard to do. But what happens when I have to get a huge projector and depth sensing machine? Cakes aren’t very cheap to begin with. Have you priced a wedding cake recently? I have. I might be able to afford the interactive cookie!
I’d be interested to see this project as it gets nearer to a prototype stage. A lot of patents never really see the light of day, so hopefully we at least get to see it in action. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize what these ideas can really do, so maybe some of these points will be clarified in the future.
Either way, this whole idea begs one question: if you ever come across an interactive cake, will you be more eager to admire the technology involved or dig in and think about the innovation later?
You can view the patent in it's entirety HERE.
°o° DizFanatic.com: A Website and Podcast for the Disney Fanatic in you! °o° "DizFanatic", "Ears on Ears", Diz Laptop Logo, the Ear Guy Logo, "DizGamer", "DizTech", "Mickey Ink", “Magical Collections”and Contents Copyright © 2002-2015 DizFanatic.com and its registered owners, all rights reserved. DizFanatic.com is in no way part of, affiliated with or endorsed by the Walt Disney Company. This site is provided to enhance your experience and enjoyment of Walt Disney entertainment products and properties and is created for fans, by fans. All images of Disney characters, properties, media, etc. are copyright © of the Walt Disney Company. The official Disney website can be found at http://Disney.com
“MORE THAN A FANATIC, ALMOST AN EXTREMIST!”
Connect with us:
Proudly hosted with 1&1 Green Hosting data center.
|News Archive 2012|
|News Archive 2010-2011|
|News Archive 2007-2009|
|Disneyland's Diamond Celebration!|
|Star Wars Land|
|Toy Story Land|
|Norway Frozen Addition|
|Pandora - Avatar Land|
|Disney FastPass Plus Dining|
|Hong Kong Disneyland's Paint the Night Parade|
|Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade|
|Fantasyland Expansion in Walt Disney World|
|Disney's Aladdin on Broadway|
|Disney Cruise Line "Magic" News|
|Disney's Monstrous Summer|
|Disneyland's Enchanted Vilage|
|Art Of Animation Resort|
|Disney California Adventure Expansion|
|New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning Super Bowl XLVI MVP at Walt Disney World Resort|
|President Obama Visits Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom|
|Disney Cruise Line Unveils New Itineraries and Ports for 2012|
|Disney Announces "Les Villages Nature" Near Disneyland Paris!|
|Wild Africa trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom|
|Star Tours 2.0 - 3D|
|Hong Kong Disneyland 5th Anniversary Celebration|
|The "New" Disney Store|
|Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion|
|Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawaii|
|Disney To Build Resort in Hawaii (Old Page)|
|The Sum of All Thrills|
|Animal Kingdom Villas|
|Bay Lake Tower & Treehouse Villas|
|Give A Day Get A Day|
|Magic Memories & You / Let The Memories Begin|
|Catalog Of Dreams|
|Remembering Roy E. Disney|
|Finding Nemo - The Musical|
|Disney Springs Rumor|
|Mickey Mouse Tattoos|
|Hidden Mickey & Minnie Tattoos|
|Tinker Bell Tattoos|
|Alice In Wonderland Tattoos|
|Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs Tattoos|
|Nightmare Before Christmas Tattoos!|
|Disney Character Tattoos!|
|Disney Pixar Cars Tattoos!|
|Disney and Pixar Icon Tattoos!|
|Star Wars Tattoos!|
|The DizFanatic Insider - Jack Sparrow's Black Pear|
|Vol.1 - Introduction to Magical Collections|
|Vol.2 - Mini PVC Characters & Icons|
|Vol.3 - Vinylmation|
|Vol.4 - Freebies; Tickets & Keys|
|May 2011 - Disneyland Grad Nights|
|June 2010 - Walt Disney World|
|November 2009 - Walt Disney World|
|August 2009 - Walt Disney World|
|August 2008 - Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort|
|December 2006 - Walt Disney World|
|WDW Parks (Aerial)|
|WDW Resorts (Aerial)|
|Disney Cruise Line DREAM|
|NYC Disney Store|
|WDW Holiday 2015 Events!|
|Walt Disney World Summer 2014 Happenings!|
|EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival 2014|
|Valentines Day And Romance at Disney|
|Walt Disney World Holiday 2013 Events!|
|Disneyland California Holiday 2013 Events!|
|EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival 2013|
|Saint Patrick's Day in Downtown Disney 2013|
|Disneyland California Spring 2013 Happenings!|
|Walt Disney World Spring 2013 Happenings!|
|Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade 2012|
|Halloween Time at Disneyland California 2012|
|Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2012|
|EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2012|
|EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival 2012|
|Vol.1 - Epic Mickey|
|Vol.2 - QuackShot|
|Vol.3 - Adventures in Magic Kingdom|
|Vol.4 - Tron Evolution|
|Vol.5 - Kingdom Hearts 3D|
|Vol.6 - Sing It: Family Hits|
|Vol.7 - Epic Review|
|Vol.8 - Propaganda Games|
|Vol.9 - LEGO Pirates Have Set Sail|
|DizReview: From Screen to Theme|
|DizReview: Mouse Of Zen|
|DizReview: Guilty Party for Wii|
|Vol.1 - Peoplemover|
|Vol.2 - Epic Mickey|
|Vol. 3 - Keychest|
|Vol. 4 - Disney 3D|
|Vol. 5 - Animatronics|
|Vol. 6 - Disney's Multiplane Camera|
|Vol. 7 - Fantasound|
|Vol. 8 - ESPN Innovation|
|Vol. 9 - TeslaTouch|
|Vol. 10 - iCake|
|Vol. 11 - MotionBeam|
|Vol. 12 - RFID Wristbands & NextGen|
|DizTips - Traveling With Small Children|
|DizTips -Disney With A Service Dog|
|Disney Press And News Coverage Videos|
|EPCOT Flower & Garden 2013|
|WDW Christmas Facts '12|
|WDW Facts '10|