在日本环球影城的媒体预演会上，一名车手戴着增强现实主题的护目镜乘坐“马里奥赛车”。(菲利普·方/法新社，盖蒂图片社)A rider wears themed augmented reality goggles on the “Mario Kart” ride during a media preview of the theme park at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.(Philip Fong/AFP via Getty Images）在迪士尼乐园和日本环球影城，增强现实和视频游戏技术项目表明，元宇宙将不限于虚拟现实眼镜。那实体世界和数字世界如何融合呢？到目前为止，增强现实技术的前景在很大程度上只是承诺通过我们手机应用程序的滤镜或简单的游戏，在相机、屏幕上很少做移动的角色。但是，如果整个元宇宙是一个一个持久的、不断发展的在线世界概念，那我们还需要做更多东西。
The promise of augmented reality so far has largely been just that — promises of a future seen through filters for our mobile phone apps or simple games that place characters with little movement on our camera screens. But if this whole metaverse thing — the concept of a persistent, evolving online world that we don’t log into as much as live inside — is ever going to take off, we’re going to need more. Our theme parks, which increasingly are centered on the concepts of games and play, may offer a glimpse of where the future is heading.In the not too distant future Universal Studios Hollywood will import a “Mario Kart”-themed ride from Japan that is centered on augmented reality, an attraction designed to create the illusion that we’re interacting with virtual objects and characters. Unlike most AR-enhanced mobile phone apps, where the images are tailored to an individual’s screen, the use of visor-like glasses will allow all guests on the ride to engage with the digital creations in real-time.
本月早些时候，华特迪士尼公司(Walt Disney Co.)悄悄宣布正在与位于加州红杉城(Redwood City)的增强现实公司Illumix进行“对话”。这家公司在游戏(《弗雷迪的增强现实五夜:特快专递》(Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery)和电子商务领域有深厚的根基，正在迅速向实体领域扩张。Illumix科技提供了一系列的体验，包括融合了实体和数字效果的娱乐，以及更个人化的角色互动。
And earlier this month the Walt Disney Co. quietly announced that it is “in conversations” with Illumi, a Redwood City, Calif.-based AR firm that has been rooted in games (“Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery”) and e-commerce but is quickly expanding into physical realms. Illumix tech offers a range of experiences, including entertainment that merges physical and digital effects as well as more personally grounded character interactions. One of the demos previewed by Illumix as part of the experimental tech program Disney Accelerator just happened to show some over-the-top, vintage cartoon-inspired interactions in Mickey’s Toontown, an area of Disneyland that the company would later announce would be reimagined with more green space and a number of interactive, play-focused activities.These were tech demos and shouldn’t be viewed as guarantees that any will show up in the park, but the proof-of-concept projects signal that an augmented reality-enhanced future is getting closer. Among the tantalizing scenes shown: an animated overlay in the Toontown area of the park with cartoon explosions intermingled with real-world smoke, a glimpse of Buzz Lightyear soaring around and through Disney California Adventure, and Minnie Mouse hanging out on a Main Street, U.S.A., balcony to offer birthday greetings to a young fan.
What impressed most about Illumix’s demos was the way in which the augmented reality characters appear to move with and understand their surroundings rather than appear like virtual stickers. Illumix founder Kirin Sinha says she has to be delicate in discussing her company’s potential collaborations with Disney, but she ultimately sees the gaming world continuing to influence physical spaces. “It’s this idea that it’s constantly evolving — based on other people, your preferences, choices you made in the past, virtual events. We can take what’s happening in the digital content world and bring that to physical experiences,” Sinha says.It’s easy to imagine augmented reality providing digital overlays of lands and for the park to better respond to birthdays and anniversaries. Or, for a theme park history buff like myself, a way for the phone to provide location-based historical knowledge with corresponding historical image overlays.
(Disney Illumix)But the concept that we’ll wake up and plug into a virtual world for all of our daily interactions is a bit dystopian, likely far off and will probably never be a reality unless climate change forces it to be. More likely it is something akin to the Disneyland model, where entertainment, technology, architecture and more come together in spaces that blur technological lines.“There’s the ‘Ready Player One’ version of a metaverse, where we all live and work and our lives are totally digital. I don’t think that’s ultimately where this is going, to a point where we’re not in this physical world,” says Sinha. “I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest that people actually like doing that.”(Universal Studios Japan)“However,” she continues, “if you look at the companies that are excelling in the metaverse, of course they would want to frame the metaverse as a future where everyone is going to live their entire lives in that company’s world. That’s the story you’re going to go out and pitch, but the reality, if you zoom back, is that the metaverse is about taking the separation of the physical and digital and combining them.”
Disney of late has been talking of building its own metaverse, and that is represented in how the worlds of “Star Wars” influenced a theme park land, which in turn influenced a virtual reality game. Film and television are merging into a singular world that’s represented in a theme park and interactive entertainment such as games. Disney has even teased what appear to be augmented reality glasses that can up the educational content in a park such as Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.