Feeling Fireworks created by Disney Research is a tactile firework show aimed at making the effect more inclusive for blind and visually impaired users.
The effects are produced by implementing water jets which are directable, that are sprayed on to the back of a flexible screen. Different nozzle heads can create a range of firework effects. The user then senses the impact on the front surface.
The Disney research team say the approach is low-cost and scalable. A user study showed that tactile effects are meaningful analogues to the visual fireworks they reproduce.
According to a report by the research team based in Switzerland: “We envisage it as an installation at a firework show that attracts all crowd members to share the experience of feeling fireworks.”
There is further potential for the use of Fireworks. These include the use of balloons by deaf people to feel music with the use of a tactile-visual screen.
A more inclusive experience for Disney fireworks
Scott Greenblat lost his vision after a car accident in 1993, when he was a teenager. “I remember gigantic displays,” the 41-year-old told Tampa-based 10 News, recalling his trips to see fireworks at Walt Disney World in Orlando as a child. “I went from everything to nothing after the accident.”
With the assistance of Fireworks, Greenblat could enjoy firework displays again.
“At this point in my life it would definitely help me relive those moments and help me recapture those exciting times that I’d been able to share with my kids,” said Gary Watson, who is losing his sight due to diabetes.
Fireworks is currently at the development stage and at the time of going to press, there is no timetable or rollout for the effect to be incorporated at Disney theme parks.
The tradition of Disney fireworks dates back to 1956, when Disneyland started nightly shows during summer months. In 2000, the company introduced air launch fireworks which reduce noise and air pollution.