The Magic of Touchable Fireworks

Feeling Fireworks from DisneyFireworks shows are enjoyed by people around the world as a primarily visual experience.

It might sound crazy, but now you can actually FEEL fireworks. Feeling is believing.

For the more than 10 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired, they can now feel what sighted individuals experience during a joyful fireworks celebration.

“Feeling Fireworks” is a new tactile experience invented by the masterminds at the Disney Research Lab in Switzerland.

Imagine closing your eyes and putting your hands over a yard sprinkler spraying across a yard – feeling those sensations. Now add the Disney twist.

How do they do it?

  • Users stand in front of a large, 2.9’ X 2.9’ flexible latex screen.
  • Water jets situated at the back of the screen start to spurt water, creating vibrations mimicking the pyrotechnic show.
  • Users place their hands at the base of the screen and move them around to feel the fireworks.
  • A rear-mounted Microsoft Kinect camera detects the user, begins the show and tracks the person’s movement.
  • You will feel how the fireworks “look” as they burst in the sky.

With different nozzles, unique firework effects can be displayed – from the crackling weeping willow to the loud booms usually shot off during finales.

Unveiled at the User Interface Software and Technology Conference in Quebec City, Canada, late last year, the technology is still in its early stage.

Disney Research tested the tech on a small group of 18 full-sighted users, and found they had a 66 percent success rate in matching a haptic firework to a video representing the same shape and duration.

When ready, “Feeling Fireworks” will initially be available only at the Disney theme parks, but then hopefully at events worldwide.

For more information and details about this remarkable innovation visit Disney Research.

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