Universal files patent for AR, gesture-powered lockers

A patent filed by Universal City Studios LLC points towards a new locker experience at the park.

The patents come amid rife speculation surrounding the possibility of a new gate at the Orlando park.

The company filed a patent for a unique locker system that uses augmented reality and hand gestures to allow guests to select, open and close lockers. The patent says the tech could be used with an augmented reality screen such as a mobile phone or a headset.

According to the patent one possible use is “as a user approaches a locker area, the AR headset receives information from the locker system identifying available lockers (e.g., unused lockers, unused lockers close to the user, unused lockers matching certain criteria or preferences) that may then be processed to assign or suggest one or more lockers to the user. The locker assignment information may be communicated to the user via the AR headset display.”

The patent explains the use of gesture to lock and unlock the locker: “Once the user places their belongings into the assigned locker, the user may use body gestures (e.g., eye gestures, hand gestures, etc. trackable by the AR headset) to lock the assigned locker. Such body gestures may be guided by the display of the AR headset, which may prompt the user to complete the appropriate body gesture, e.g., to mimic a particular pattern of movements. When the user returns to the locker area, the AR headset may direct the user to his or her assigned locker and the user may use the body gestures to unlock the assigned locker.”

BizJournals suggests one possible application could be a Harry Potter theme.

Earlier this year, Universal filed four patents pointing towards new systems and methods for integrating VR and AR into rides and experiences and the resort.

This isn’t the first time Universal has filed patents pointing towards the use of AR technology on its rides. However, as journalist Brady MacDonald points out, many patents never go beyond the patent office.

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