Over the years, we’ve featured some pretty incredible cakes (and cupcakes) here on Technabob, but to date, we’ve never seen one that had projected, interactive images on it. Well, Disney, being Disney, has been working on the idea for a few years now, and recently was awarded a patent for the technology.
The patent abstract reads as follows:
A method for digitally augmenting or enhancing a food product such as the surface or top of a cake or other edible object. The method includes generating an augmentation media file based on a projection surface of the food product such as a digital movie or image that is mapped to the 3D topography of projection surface and that is projected on the food product using a properly aligned projector. Interactivity is provided by having the method include determining a modification or change of the 3D topography of the projection surface and, based upon the modification, generating a modified augmentation media file and operating the projector to use the modified augmentation media file to project a modified projected image on the food product. The method further provides interactivity by detecting a user interaction with the projection surface and generating a modified augmentation media file based on this tracked interaction.
So think Microsoft
Surface PixelSense, but on a cake. Here it is projecting an image of a baby, turning into a backpack-wearing kid, and then into a basketball player. Sure, why not?
The technology could work with complex topographies and interact differently depending on the section. For instance, a cake could have a river rolling through the middle of a valley, and touching the water would make it splash or change directions without affecting the hills around it.
It could even display personalized messages on slices of cake as they are removed from the main cake.
As intellectual property lawyers are known to do, this patent protects Disney in the event that someone wants to make any food that uses a projector and lets you interact with its surface. Granted, the ideas of an interactive, augmented display already have tons of prior art, but in terms of baked goods, Disney was apparently in the clear.
You can check out the full patent over at Google Patents.