Disney researchers are working on fireworks you can 'feel'
If you're visually impaired or blind, fireworks can feel a little exclusive to those with full sight.
"Feeling Fireworks" is a new project attempting to make fireworks more inclusive for people with low or limited vision, or who are blind — yep, they're fireworks you can "feel."
A new project by Disney Research and ETH Zurich's Dorothea Reusser, Espen Knoop, Roland Siegwart and Paul Beardsley, it's a large-scale tactile firework show in which water jets are directed onto a flexible screen.
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Users put their hands up against the other side of the screen, a rear-mounted Kinect detects the user, and they will be able to feel "tactile fireworks that are directly analogous to physical fireworks happening in the sky."
Different nozzles produce different "firework" effects — three jet nozzles for creating rockets and explosions, one shower nozzle for creating crackle effects, and one nozzle for a blooming flower effect.
The nozzles are mounted on pan-tilt units to render movement across a latex screen, and the water moves through the system by a controllable pump.
Plus, the team proposes a visual element to the screen as well, for total inclusivity. "We envisage it as an installation at a firework show that attracts all crowd members to share the experience of feeling fireworks," says the research paper.
According to New Scientist, the project is still in the demonstration phase, having shown at the User Interface Software and Technology conference in October. NS reports that the technology has only been fully tested on seeing users so far, with the intention to test it on blind users soon.