Patents by Inventor Lanny S. Smoot

Lanny S. Smoot has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 10416754
    Abstract: A modular floor with active tiles that utilize numerous friction or contact disks each with a raised segment or portion on their edges that together provide a planar contact surface for the active tile. Each disk is oriented at a fixed tilt angle to define which part of the disk's outer surfaces act as the raised portion, and each disk is oriented to position where the raised surface is located so as to define the direction that a supported object is moved over the modular floor. The drive system typically includes, for each disk assembly, a disk orienting mechanism along with a disk rotation mechanism to rotate the disk at a rotation rate about its central axis. The controller of the motion system operates the disk orienting mechanism to orient the disk so that a particular location on the disk behaves as the raised portion where an object is contacted.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2019
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Günter D. Niemeyer, David Loyal Christensen, Robert Bristow
  • Patent number: 10376803
    Abstract: A special effects device for providing an energy sword effect. The device includes two long plastic semi-cylinders, and these two blade body members are rolled perpendicular to their length, which creates compact cylinders of material of small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools in a hilt. To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt unrolls the blade body members from the spools. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway that nests the semi-cylindrical blade body members together as they leave the hilt. To retract the blade, the process is reversed. The lighting of the blade is achieved with a flexible strip of light sources. The light source strip is attached to a blade end cap and positioned in the center of the two blade body members such that it is pulled up along with the blade body members during their extension.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 24, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2019
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Michael R. Honeck, Lanny S. Smoot, Quinn Y. Smithwick, Eli Joseph Romaire, David J. McCall, Terry O. Sandin, Adam B. Forster, Peter Anastasios Chevako
  • Patent number: 10362299
    Abstract: A system for providing a user of a virtual reality (VR) system with physical interactions with an object in the real world or in the surrounding physical space while they are concurrently interacting in the virtual world with a corresponding virtual object. The real world object is dynamic with the system including a physical interaction system that includes a robot with a manipulator for moving, positioning, and/or orienting the real world object so as to move it into contact with the user. For example, the physical object is moved into contact with a tracked body part of the user, such as a hand, a tracked contact surface on the user's body, and so on, at a time that is accurately synchronized with a time of an interaction event occurring in the virtual world being created by the VR system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 23, 2019
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Gunter D. Niemeyer, Lanny S. Smoot, Vinay Chawda, Matthew Keith Xi-Jie Pan
  • Patent number: 10300389
    Abstract: An augmented reality (AR) gaming system of the present description includes 3D eyewear for each player that allows the player wearing the 3D eyewear to view the surrounding physical space. The 3D eyewear in conjunction with operation of a 3D display assembly of the AR gaming system allows the player to see other players while they also perceive 3D augmentation content that is rendered based on that particular player's tracked location. For example, the 3D augmentation content may include a game object that moves about the virtual gaming environment/space during the game as two (or more) players play the game such as by interacting with the game object via movement of their hand(s) with the movement/location being tracked. The AR gaming system generates the 3D augmentation content to correctly represent the present location of the game object relative to their location and view point.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 28, 2019
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Jonathan Ackley, Lanny S. Smoot
  • Patent number: 10228758
    Abstract: A motion system for moving objects in a space, e.g., for moving virtual reality (VR) participants about space used to provide a VR environment. The system includes a controller and a position monitoring assembly. The system has a modular floor including a plurality of tile assemblies defining a support surface for a first and a second object. Each of the tile assemblies includes: (a) a planar tile with an upper surface for supporting the first and second objects; and (b) a drive system. The drive system includes a vibration-inducing assembly operable to oscillate the planar tile in a horizontal plane and further includes a preferential friction assembly operable to selectively reduce friction between the upper surface and any supported object. The controller generates control signals, based on position information, to independently control the tile assemblies of the modular floor to move the first and second objects on the support surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 12, 2019
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Cynthia Rueyi Sung
  • Publication number: 20190054379
    Abstract: An augmented reality (AR) gaming system of the present description includes 3D eyewear for each player that allows the player wearing the 3D eyewear to view the surrounding physical space. The 3D eyewear in conjunction with operation of a 3D display assembly of the AR gaming system allows the player to see other players while they also perceive 3D augmentation content that is rendered based on that particular player's tracked location. For example, the 3D augmentation content may include a game object that moves about the virtual gaming environment/space during the game as two (or more) players play the game such as by interacting with the game object via movement of their hand(s) with the movement/location being tracked. The AR gaming system generates the 3D augmentation content to correctly represent the present location of the game object relative to their location and view point.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 17, 2017
    Publication date: February 21, 2019
    Inventors: JONATHAN ACKLEY, LANNY S. SMOOT
  • Publication number: 20190034972
    Abstract: Systems, methods, and computer program products for performing an operation comprising detecting a first mobile device within a predefined proximity of a display device, receiving profile data from the first mobile device, identifying at least one rule for selecting media content based on the profile data, selecting, based on the at least one rule applied to the profile data, a first item of media content of a plurality of items of media content, and outputting the first item of media content for display on the display device.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 26, 2017
    Publication date: January 31, 2019
    Inventors: Scott Frazier WATSON, Nitzan KATZ, Lanny S. SMOOT
  • Publication number: 20180365758
    Abstract: According to one implementation, a system for delivering an enhanced customer experience includes a retail venue having a computing platform interactively linked to a display screen, a camera system, a virtual jukebox, and an audio system. The computing platform includes a hardware processor and a memory storing a venue content control software code. The hardware executes the venue content control software code to receive a camera data corresponding to a customer of the retail venue from the camera system, and display an image representing the customer on the display screen, based on the camera data. The hardware processor further executes the venue content control software code to receive an audio selection data from the virtual jukebox identifying a music selection received by the virtual jukebox as an input from another customer, determine an audio playlist including the music selection, and playout the audio playlist using the audio system.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 14, 2017
    Publication date: December 20, 2018
    Inventors: Scott F. Watson, Lanny S. Smoot, Danny J. Donnell
  • Publication number: 20180357709
    Abstract: According to one implementation, an interactive retail venue includes a computing platform interactively linked to a display screen, a lighting system, an audio system, a dynamic product display unit, and multiple product sensors. The computing platform includes a hardware processor and a memory storing a venue orchestration software code. The hardware processor executes the venue orchestration software code to receive sensor data from the product sensors, determine respective locations of retail products within the interactive retail venue based on the sensor data, and present a multi-media entertainment featuring the retail products using the display screen, the lighting system, and the audio system. The hardware processor further executes the venue orchestration software code to concurrently activate the dynamic product display unit if at least one of the retail products is situated within a predetermined distance of the dynamic product display unit.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 12, 2017
    Publication date: December 13, 2018
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Scott F. Watson, Nitzan Katz
  • Publication number: 20180357697
    Abstract: According to one implementation, a system for automating customer assistance includes a computing platform having a hardware processor and a memory storing a venue inventory and activity guide software code. The hardware processor is configured to execute the venue inventory and activity guide software code to receive a query from a customer of the retail venue, and determine if the query corresponds to either a retail product or an experience available at the retail venue. If the retail product or the experience is not available at the retail venue, the hardware processor executes the venue inventory and activity guide software code to generate a negative response. If the retail product or the experience is available at the retail venue, the hardware processor executes the venue inventory and activity guide software code to identify a location of the retail product or the experience, and guide the customer to the location.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 12, 2017
    Publication date: December 13, 2018
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Steven Makofsky, Scott F. Watson, Nitzan Katz
  • Publication number: 20180326317
    Abstract: A special effects device for providing an energy sword effect. The device includes two long plastic semi-cylinders, and these two blade body members are rolled perpendicular to their length, which creates compact cylinders of material of small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools in a hilt. To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt unrolls the blade body members from the spools. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway that nests the semi-cylindrical blade body members together as they leave the hilt. To retract the blade, the process is reversed. The lighting of the blade is achieved with a flexible strip of light sources. The light source strip is attached to a blade end cap and positioned in the center of the two blade body members such that it is pulled up along with the blade body members during their extension.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 24, 2018
    Publication date: November 15, 2018
    Inventors: MICHAEL R. HONECK, LANNY S. SMOOT, QUINN Y. SMITHWICK, ELI JOSEPH ROMAIRE, DAVID J. MCCALL, TERRY O. SANDIN, ADAM B. FORSTER, PETER ANASTASIOS CHEVAKO
  • Patent number: 10092850
    Abstract: A robot with an elastic, spherically-shaped body with controlled bouncing locomotion. This robot may be called “a robotic bouncing ball.” The robotic bouncing ball can be used to provide a new class of robotic characters that are ball-like, and these new robotic characters bounce in place and from one location to another. The spherical body will typically be formed with a thin wall of elastic material such as a rubber or the like, and a drive or actuator assembly along with a local controller and a power source are positioned in the interior space of the hollow body. The controller controls the drive assembly to cause the spherical body to bounce up and down vertically and to provide horizontal/lateral movement of the spherical body through the applications of deforming and/or reforming forces on the elastic outer wall.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignees: Disney Enterprises, Inc., The California Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Gunter D. Niemeyer, Aaron D. Ames, David Loyal Christensen
  • Publication number: 20180259784
    Abstract: A display system is provided that combines the use of a display element with a beamsplitter and at least one retroreflector to provide an image (2D or 3D depending upon the output image from the display element) that appears to be floating in space some distance from the beamsplitter. For example, light that is bounced off/reflected and/or that is transmitted through the beamsplitter may be reflected from the reflective surface of the retroreflector toward the beamsplitter. The beamsplitter directs this light, through reflection or transmission, into a viewing space such that the 2D or 3D image can be viewed by a viewer as it appears to float a distance from the nearest surface of the beamsplitter and, typically, some distance above the ground/floor upon which viewers are walking. The floating image may be relatively bright so that it is viewable in low and brighter light conditions.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 15, 2018
    Publication date: September 13, 2018
    Inventors: DANIEL M. JOSEPH, LANNY S. SMOOT, QUINN Y. SMITHWICK, MICHAEL J. ILARDI
  • Patent number: 10065127
    Abstract: A special effects device for providing an energy sword effect. The device includes two long plastic semi-cylinders, and these two blade body members are rolled perpendicular to their length, which creates compact cylinders of material of small volume that can be provided on a pair of spools in a hilt. To extend the blade, a motor provided in the hilt unrolls the blade body members from the spools. Each blade body member passes through a blade forming guideway that nests the semi-cylindrical blade body members together as they leave the hilt. To retract the blade, the process is reversed. The lighting of the blade is achieved with a flexible strip of light sources. The light source strip is attached to a blade end cap and positioned in the center of the two blade body members such that it is pulled up along with the blade body members during their extension.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2018
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventors: Michael R. Honeck, Lanny S. Smoot, Quinn Y. Smithwick, Eli Joseph Romaire, David J. McCall, Terry O. Sandin, Adam B. Forster, Peter Anastasios Chevako
  • Patent number: 10067564
    Abstract: Embodiments described herein include an arm band that captures sensor data used to identify hand gestures. When worn on the arm, the arm band permits a computing device to identify different gestures made by the hand. In one embodiment, the band measures a change in position of the tendons that control the positions of the fingers on the hand which can then be correlated to a particular hand gesture. For example, the thickness of the user's arm increases in a direction perpendicular to the palm of the hand when the fingers are extended relative to the thickness of the arm when the fingers are curled into the palm of the hand. By detecting this change in thickness, the computing device can distinguish between different gestures.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2018
    Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Michael P. Goslin, Daniel James Reetz, Joseph L. Olson
  • Publication number: 20180217662
    Abstract: A modular floor with active tiles that utilize numerous friction or contact disks each with a raised segment or portion on their edges that together provide a planar contact surface for the active tile. Each disk is oriented at a fixed tilt angle to define which part of the disk's outer surfaces act as the raised portion, and each disk is oriented to position where the raised surface is located so as to define the direction that a supported object is moved over the modular floor. The drive system typically includes, for each disk assembly, a disk orienting mechanism along with a disk rotation mechanism to rotate the disk at a rotation rate about its central axis. The controller of the motion system operates the disk orienting mechanism to orient the disk so that a particular location on the disk behaves as the raised portion where an object is contacted.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 23, 2017
    Publication date: August 2, 2018
    Inventors: LANNY S. SMOOT, GÜNTER D. NIEMEYER, DAVID LOYAL CHRISTENSEN, ROBERT BRISTOW
  • Patent number: 10001654
    Abstract: A display system is provided that combines the use of a display element with a beamsplitter and at least one retroreflector to provide an image (2D or 3D depending upon the output image from the display element) that appears to be floating in space some distance from the beamsplitter. For example, light that is bounced off/reflected and/or that is transmitted through the beamsplitter may be reflected from the reflective surface of the retroreflector toward the beamsplitter. The beamsplitter directs this light, through reflection or transmission, into a viewing space such that the 2D or 3D image can be viewed by a viewer as it appears to float a distance from the nearest surface of the beamsplitter and, typically, some distance above the ground/floor upon which viewers are walking. The floating image may be relatively bright so that it is viewable in low and brighter light conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2018
    Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel M. Joseph, Lanny S. Smoot, Quinn Y. Smithwick, Michael J. Ilardi
  • Patent number: 9958749
    Abstract: An apparatus worn as headgear providing visual effects and vision to the wearer. The apparatus includes a shell or helmet. The apparatus includes an optical assembly mounted in the interior space of the shell adjacent eye slits or opening(s) to the interior space of the shell. The optical assembly includes an outer screen (e.g., a film of polymer-dispersed liquid crystal) switchable between a rear projection (RP) screen state in which the outer screen is cloudy or translucent and a transparent state. The optical assembly includes a backlighting assembly with numerous lights. The optical assembly includes a controller switching, at a rate greater than the flicker fusion rate, between a first operating state with the outer screen in the RP screen state and the lights on to illuminate the outer screen and a second operating state with the outer screen in the transparent state and the lights off.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2018
    Assignee: DISNEY ENTERPRISES, INC.
    Inventor: Lanny S. Smoot
  • Publication number: 20180074351
    Abstract: An apparatus worn as headgear providing visual effects and vision to the wearer. The apparatus includes a shell or helmet. The apparatus includes an optical assembly mounted in the interior space of the shell adjacent eye slits or opening(s) to the interior space of the shell. The optical assembly includes an outer screen (e.g., a film of polymer-dispersed liquid crystal) switchable between a rear projection (RP) screen state in which the outer screen is cloudy or translucent and a transparent state. The optical assembly includes a backlighting assembly with numerous lights. The optical assembly includes a controller switching, at a rate greater than the flicker fusion rate, between a first operating state with the outer screen in the RP screen state and the lights on to illuminate the outer screen and a second operating state with the outer screen in the transparent state and the lights off.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 12, 2016
    Publication date: March 15, 2018
    Inventor: LANNY S. SMOOT
  • Patent number: 9918074
    Abstract: A display system creating three dimensional (3D) imagery for a viewer in a viewing space wearing 3D stereo glasses. The 3D stereo glasses have first and second lens passing colored light in first and second ranges of wavelengths. The display system includes a 3D mural element with a display surface facing the viewing space and a light receiving surface opposite the display surface. The display system includes a first wavelength multiplex visualization (WMV) light source outputting a first light stream onto the light receiving surface, and the first light stream has a wavelength in the first range of wavelengths. The display system includes a second WMV light source outputting a second light stream onto the light receiving surface, and the second light stream has a wavelength in the second range of wavelengths. WMV light sources may be directed onto 3D surfaces and props in the viewing space providing 3D effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 13, 2018
    Assignee: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
    Inventors: Lanny S. Smoot, Thomas Tracey Tait, Mark A. Reichow, Steven T. Kosakura