Following on from the new interactive queue expansion
, The Haunted Mansion yesterday debuted its amazing new Hitchhiking Ghosts scene featuring a new augmented reality projection system. Now, instead of looking at a reflected mirror image of yourself with peppers ghost animated props, the new system takes real time video of your doombuggy, projects this onto what appears to be the mirror infront of you (but which is now a large video screen), and then animates the Hitchhiking Ghosts around you.
What is even more amazing, is that not only do the ghosts move around you, but they can do all kinds of things to actually interact with you, such as pulling off your head, swapping heads with other people in your doombuggy, putting a beard on you and much more. The system is also incredibly intelligent at recognizing the guest configuration inside the doom buggy. It appears capable of determining the number of riders, where they are seated, and whether faces are visible. It then generates an animation sequence to fit that scenario and displays it as an augmented reality scene on the screen (disguised as a mirror) infront of you. All of this happens in a fraction of a second, and to all the doombuggies moving through the scene - we are talking some serious computer processing power here. Along with the visuals, the scene now features new audio effects tied into the visual effects.
This is a really impressive new finale scene to the Haunted Mansion that has to be seen to be believed. Imagineering have once again done an incredible job of further plussing the Haunted Mansion experience and raising the bar once again. With the system they now have available we have to wonder how far this will go when the upcoming RFID Next-Gen project comes online - we could be looking at even more personalized interaction in this scene.
We have a video showing the scene
with a couple of passes through to see different animations (Thanks to Phil and John for the video!), but remember, it's best experienced in person. The video is not representative of the clarity of the system as experienced first hand in the mansion.