Gesture Recognition for Harry Potter attraction at Universal Parks

Universal Studios has 5 theme parks across the US, Japan, Singapore and China, with a daily attendance of 100.000+ visitors.

Inaugurated in 2010, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (present in 4 of these parks) rapidly became one of its main attractions. Thousands of visitors and "Potterheads" (Harry Potter's fandom) travel from remote corners of the world to be enchanted by their favorite characters and magical surroundings.

Source: Universal Parks

Among the activities offered to visitors is the experience of casting spells in Diagon Alley, the apprentice magicians' market. These spells, cast by magic wands, trigger interactions with various elements in the surroundings.

The challenge was to allow guests to activate interactive props when performing "spells". This implied accurately tracking the wands’ tips in the unconstrained environment of the park.

The solution required recognizing gestures with a high degree of precision and reliability in order to provide guests with the experience they expect.
We designed a Near-Infrared Video Acquisition System paired with a suitable IR LED (infrared light emitting diode) installed in the interactive wands' tips.

This solution enabled us to perform accurate wand tracking in both daylight and darkness.

This project was the basis for the interactive attraction in production to this day in the US, China and Japan. Universal relied on Digital Sense's experts to develop unprecedented technology that continues to amaze millions of visitors each year.

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