Technology trends 2024 | blooloop

Technology trends 2024 | blooloop

Advances in technology continue at an exponential rate, and the attractions industry is quick to put any innovations to use. Some of the biggest technology trends to keep an eye on in 2024 include holograms, robots and artificial intelligence (AI). Also, we expect to see a lot more immersive and interactive tools featured in theme parks, museums and other location-based entertainment (LBE) experiences.

Some of our top technology trends for this year carry over from last year’s predictions (but not NFTs or the metaverse). Read on to find out what blooloop will be watching in the year ahead.

Immersive

Technologies such as AI, AR, VR, holograms, LED screens, AV effects and projections can be tools to create the world’s most immersive experiences. One example of this technology trend is Mission Ferrari at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. The ride is billed as the world’s most immersive mega-coaster. This is because the 5D multimedia experience is enhanced by cutting-edge technology and AV elements. It claimed the top spot in the blooloop Innovation Awards’ thrills category.

Also in Abu Dhabi, the new SeaWorld park is showcasing myriad immersive technologies. The One Epic Ocean show by Thinkwell is another winner of an Innovation Award. Guests experience an immersive journey through the ocean’s depths thanks to cutting-edge technology. This includes the world’s largest cylindrical 360-degree LED screen.

Image credit: Rich Fury

Hypersphere 360 at Seaworld Abu Dhabi is another immersive attraction, invented and patented by Attraktion! and Intamin. The dome theatre ride, a blooloop Innovation Award winner, is described as the world’s most immersive ride experience. It boasts 17 million pixels and 2x 6K LED technology.

In the US, the state-of-the-art Sphere venue houses the largest and highest-resolution LED screen in the world. It also includes the world’s largest concert-grade audio system, made by Holoplot. Inside, Sphere serves as an entertainment destination. Outside, the exterior features 580,000 square feet of LED lighting to display content.

Immersive will continue to be a top technology trend in 2024

Alongside HTC’s Vive Arts, the Musée d’Orsay used VR to put guests inside Van Gogh’s last surviving paint palette. The virtual landscape of brush strokes and oil paints was achieved through high-resolution scans of the original.

Celina Yeh, director of Vive Arts, said the VR experience “harnesses the power of immersive technology to offer an experience that is at once entertaining and educational”. Also part of the museum’s Van Gogh exhibition is an AI-powered avatar of the artist who can answer visitors’ questions.

mythtopia glamping resort scotland

Elsewhere, Universal Destinations & Experiences has filed a patent to improve VR rides. It describes a technology where riders on an attraction with VR elements can wear a camera facing them (via Orlando Inno). This could detect facial expressions and gestures, generating an avatar with similar facial characteristics and movements to the rider to show to other riders and visitors at Universal parks.

Some other uses of immersive technologies in the attractions industry: at the Artechouse studio in New York, a new exhibition is immersing guests in NASA’s galactic data captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. Luna Park Sydney’s new Dream Circus experience uses multi-layered tools including 360-degree projections, surround sound and holograms. Mythtopia, an eco-glamping resort with an AR gaming experience, is coming to Scotland.

Holograms

The biggest news in holograms in recent years is ABBA Voyage. This is an innovative production that uses cutting-edge technology to recreate the Swedish pop stars. The digital avatars of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid were created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a visual effects company founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas. To become holograms, the band performed in motion capture suits, with cameras scanning their body movements and facial expressions.

ABBA Voyage has been a massive success, adding £322 million to London’s economy. Mayor Sadiq Khan said the show is “a powerful example of how culture has a positive impact on our city”.

Michael Bolingbroke, CEO of ABBA Voyage, said: “The presence of ABBA Voyage is felt in a way that will be enduring.”

abba voyage technology trends

Elvis is the next musician to return to the stage as a hologram. Continuing this technology trend, an immersive concert using AI and holographic projection called Elvis Evolution is to debut in London in November 2024. It will then travel to Las Vegas, Tokyo and Berlin. The production was created using thousands of Elvis’ personal photos and home videos. It is a collaboration between the owners of the Elvis Presley estate and Layered Reality, a UK-based immersive entertainment company.

“Elvis Evolution is a next-generation tribute to the musical legend that is Elvis Presley,” Andrew McGuinness, chief executive of Layered Reality, said in a statement.

“Elvis maintains superstar status globally and people around the world no longer want to sit there and passively receive entertainment – they want to be a part of it. It’ll be a memory-making experience that will be a bucket-list item for Elvis fans and admirers around the world; people can step into the world of Elvis, walk in his shoes and celebrate his extraordinary musical legacy.”

Holographic animals

Australia’s Hologram Zoo, which opened last year, is another example of this technology trend. It features displays of animals like hippos, giraffes and gorillas, all made from lasers.

Bruce Dell, chief executive of Axiom Holographics and creator of Hologram Zoo, told the BBC:

“You are projecting an object in the air that appears to be real because as you walk around it you are seeing it from all sorts of different angles. So, you use laser light and we project these objects into the air.”

technology trends

He explained: “Everyone is expecting the hologram revolution. It is something we see in science fiction and we should have had it by now. But holograms have always been so expensive. We felt there were some things to do there to make them a lot cheaper.

“Holograms normally take tremendous amounts of computing power. You’ll normally have 10 computers hooked together to do them. Because of our good understanding of how computer memory management works, we’ve been able to make algorithms that reduce holograms down to just one computer.”

Gamification

Gamification, or interactivity, has been a key technology trend in recent years and that will continue in 2024.

To provide a gamified experience, operators need to add an extra, interactive, technology-driven layer to their attractions. Universal Studios’ Super Nintendo World in Japan and California is an innovator in this space. An interactive land, Super Nintendo World provides gamified experiences via wearable wristbands linked to smartphones through an app.

An example: visitors can physically hit the land’s Question Blocks to collect coins, as if they are competing in a video game.

“Think of Super Nintendo World as a life-size, living video game where you become one of the characters. You’re not just playing the game. You’re living the game, you’re living the adventure,” said Thierry Coup, Universal Creative’s former senior VP and chief creative officer.

super nintendo world universal studios hollywood power-up band

“We have developed some state-of-the-art technology to create the perfect fusion of the physical world with the world of video games,” he added. “I think the seamless integration of the gameplay is one of the most innovative experiences we have ever created at Universal Studios.”

Spooky tech

Back in 2022, Universal filed a patent for an interactive Pepper’s Ghost effect system. The existing Pepper’s Ghost special effects technique is used to create holograms or transparent visuals. It is featured in Disney’s Haunted Mansion dark ride. Using the new technology by Universal, guests would be able to interact with the effects via a handheld device.

“While well-established effects, such as a traditional Pepper’s Ghost effect, are effective illusions, it is now recognized that these traditional effects lack meaningful audience interaction,” the patent says. “In today’s environment, in which guests are accustomed to more interaction (e.g., via video games), such passive interaction can cause a loss of interest.”

People on a chaos kart

Another pioneering gamified attraction is Chaos Karts, a winner of a blooloop Innovation Award. This bridges the gap between traditional go-karting and video games by integrating state-of-the-art technology. A real-life gaming experience, Chaos Karts is immersive but without the need for AR-enabled screens or VR headsets.

Robots

Robots remain a top technology trend for 2024. In recent years, we’ve seen bots greeting visitors, critiquing and creating artwork, curating shows and providing security. They’ve even been serving food and entertaining guests. Last year, robodogs were big news.

Dubai’s Museum of the Future has introduced a robotic dog to interact with visitors. In the UK, Blenheim Palace is testing a robot dog monitoring the impact of climate change. Colección SOLO in Spain is home to a robot canine called A.I.C.C.A. The robodog can write critiques of artworks and then poop them out on paper.

However, entertainment giant Disney is dominating this technology trend with its myriad robotics projects. New developments include plans to take “untethered” robots into the sky with “hybrid air and water power”. At Disneyland, a robotic Spider-Man is already performing stunts above Avengers Campus.

Walt Disney Imagineering is testing its new free-roaming Baby Groot robot in Disney California Adventure. Additionally, “droids in training” are being tested at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. “The robots actually learn to imitate artistic motion – that’s the secret sauce to make them work so quickly. They can actually emote and learn to dance,” said Moritz Bächer, associate lab director at Disney Research.

As for creative robots, Ai-Da – the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid AI robot artist – is leading the way. Her achievements include taking part in the world’s largest mass participation AI art event and an AI exhibition and event series at Oxford University. Ai-Da has also exhibited at Tate Modern, London’s Design Museum, the V&A and the Ashmolean Museum.

Beyond AR and VR

Virtual worlds without a need for VR headsets or AR-enabled devices are already achievable via new technologies such as projection. FXMOTION by Luminous Show Technology, for example, is an interactive show control system. This is designed to anonymously read guests’ movements, gestures, poses and positions – without wearables. 

Disney and Universal are innovators when it comes to this technology trend, and this is set to continue into 2024. Not long ago, a patent was granted to Disney for technology that would allow visitors to enjoy a virtual world beyond VR and AR. The technology would let Disney simulate a digital world within a real theme park, creating 3D imagery via multiple projectors for an immersive experience.

Virtual effects projected by Disney’s ‘virtual-world simulator’ could include characters, as well as objects and props. For example, guests may see a virtual Minnie Mouse playing with Figaro at Fantasyland. “What’s happening here is it’s actually being projected,” Founders Legal patent and technology technical adviser John DeStefano told Spectrum News.

A more real-world experience

“Rather than look through a phone screen or a headset, Disney developed a system almost similar to a movie projector to project on a real surface what humans see on a screen. It’s more real-world experience rather than looking at it through a phone,” added DeStefano. “Disney believes others are going to get into this space,” Founders Legal patent attorney Yuri Eliezer told the publication. “They want to make sure they get this patent first.”

avengers campus disneyland paris technology trends

The company later filed a patent for rides that would offer a 3D virtual experience without wearables or smart devices. Like the virtual-world simulator, the new technology would project a 3D virtual scene to guests on rides and attractions just by tracking their eye positions.

Over at Universal Destinations & Experiences, the company has filed a patent application for technology that could generate realistic images at theme parks using “retroreflection”. This is an alternative way to create 3D images on theme park rides. A beam splitter and a light-reflecting device are used to generate an image that appears to be floating.

Artificial intelligence

Another technology trend expected to make a HUGE impact in 2024 is artificial intelligence (AI). Put simply, AI refers to computer systems that can perform tasks that usually require human intelligence. Through AI, machines like robots (see above) can see, speak, make decisions, solve problems and more. 

But what does AI look like in the visitor experience? Well, it can enhance immersive spaces, museum exhibits, and dining out. AI was even used last year in a humorous Vienna tourism campaign to generate cat-themed versions of famous Austrian artworks.

vienna tourism campaign artificial intelligence cats

“With so much artificial intelligence invading lives – particularly with programs like DALL-E or Midjourney that allow anyone to create ‘works of art’ – Vienna wants to remind visitors of who made that all possible in the first place,” said the tourist board’s CEO, Norbert Kettner, in a press statement.

Swamp Motel is a trendsetter in the realm of technology-driven immersive experiences. Last year, the group opened an AI experience called ‘Saint Jude’. During the show, audiences engaged with innovative technology created by AI company Charisma. They were able to communicate with the brainwaves of coma patients and interact with AI-powered characters and live performers.

AI design and the creative process

Whilst there are fears that generative programs like DALL-E will replace human creatives, it seems much more likely that AI will be used as a design tool to increase efficiency. AI design can be used to bridge the gap in communicating ideas between clients and designers. Clients can for the first time express their ideas visually, whilst designers can generate prototypes, mood boards and rough options more quickly and then use their skills to craft the vision.

Elsewhere, the Dalí Museum in Florida offered an exhibition called ‘The Shape of Dreams’. Here, guests could see their dreams transformed into works of art. The ‘Dream Tapestry’ element allowed visitors to generate images based on their own dreams through the DALL-E system. Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Minds over Matter collaborated on ‘Dream Tapestry’, as well as OpenAI, the research company behind DALL-E and founded by Elon Musk.

swamp motel saint jude technology trends

Using AI, the planned Museum of Shakespeare in London will bring the sights, smells and sounds of the city in 1598 to life. “We’re going far beyond the many video projection installations that exist now,” Bompas & Parr co-founder Sam Bompas told blooloop.

As for dining, CaliExpress by Flippy – the world’s first fully autonomous and AI-powered restaurant – is open in Pasadena, California. Rich Hull, CEO of Miso Robotics, the creator of Flippy – the world’s first AI-powered robotic fry station, said:

“AI-powered, robotic order-taking and cooking enables the major chains that feed America to substantially improve quality, consistency and speed.”

Tech for good

Tech for good, or tech for a better world, is best described as an organisation or company using technology to improve lives and communities.

In the LBE industry, we expect to see more of this technology trend in 2024 and further into the future. Museums and other attractions are regularly home to exhibitions and programmes to inspire visitors to make positive social and environmental changes. But when it comes to tech for good, we’re seeing zoos with conservation messages and state-of-the-art tools.

One example is a VR experience by Immotion, created in partnership with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. This highlights the plight of the near-extinct mountain gorillas of Rwanda in Central Africa. Presented at the Milwaukee County Zoo, Gorilla Trek puts audiences in a 360-degree, 3D VR theatre with motion seats.

Immotion Gorilla Trek VR

There are just over 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world. Tara Stoinski is the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s president and CEO. She said the VR experience is an example of “how technology can advance conservation education”.

Tech meets conservation

Twycross Zoo is also raising awareness through a new exhibition called Projecting Hope. This features holograms of critically endangered animals and was created in partnership with the University of Nottingham. Guests can learn about and interact with endangered Javan rhinos and endangered African elephants through technology developed at the University of Portsmouth.

Richard Sands, Twycross Zoo’s conservation education manager, said:

“We are in the midst of a mass extinction crisis, with one million plant and animal species at risk right now. This project is a fantastic way to raise our visitors’ awareness of two iconic species, in a cool and futuristic new way.”

twycross zoo hologram technology trends

When the exhibit closes, the University of Nottingham will evaluate its impact on the zoo’s visitors. “There is no doubting that humans are the reason both elephants and rhinos are at risk of extinction, but they can also be the solution,” said Dr Lisa Yon, associate professor at the University of Nottingham, and founding director of the Elephant Welfare Project.

“As a charity fighting the extinction crisis, one of our goals is to inspire the next generation to make positive changes for wildlife,” added Dr Rebecca Biddle, director of conservation at Twycross Zoo. “The hologram is a perfect example of how we can do this through innovative new ways, in a world that is led by technology and exciting experiences.”

Esports

Esports is one technology trend due for a revival in 2024. Global revenue from competitive gaming was estimated at nearly $1.4 billion in 2022. Esports has an approximate audience of more than 530 million people across the globe. Two out of three Americans are gamers. In response to these statistics, both Cedar Fair and Six Flags, which recently reached a deal to merge, have introduced new esports facilities to their parks.

The biggest esports news from last year, however, is the Populous-designed esports arena at Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya giga-project. The 5,155-seat arena will have the largest combined amount of video screens of any esports arena in the world. It will also feature 4D haptic seats. The venue is designed to feel like a fantasy world. It includes a gaming arcade, a food ‘souk’, and a retail and immersive entertainment zone.

qiddiya gaming and esports district

“We are proud to have been able to combine our extensive knowledge of esports facilities and technology with Qiddiya’s vision to create a world-leading arena for competitors and fans alike. This arena will be unique in esports in both scale and user experience,” said Rhys Courtney, senior principal at Populous EMEA.

Populous is behind some of the world’s most advanced esports venues, including Esports Stadium Arlington, Fortress Melbourne, and the NBA 2K League Broadcast Arena. Its Qiddiya City arena is part of a gaming and esports district, which will house four esports locations.

Interactive

Interactive experiences are not to be confused with immersive or gamified attractions. This technology trend can be seen in visitor attractions such as zoos and museums, or places looking to educate visitors in an interactive way. One example of this is a unique cultural experience planned for London’s Kingsway Exchange tunnels.

The mile-long underground tunnels were first built in the 1940s to shelter Londoners during the World War II Blitz. Now, they are poised to become an innovative visitor experience. The history of the tunnels will be explored via high-resolution screens, interactive structures, scent-emitting technology and hundreds of individual acoustic pinpoint speakers.

ai aquarium

Some recent interactive experiences from aquariums include the Sea Life Aquariums’ Sea Scan app. This uses AI to recognise marine species in the Merlin-owned aquariums. The world’s first interactive aquarium uses AI in the same way. Developed by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan, the innovative system uses smart display, AI recognition, and human-computer interaction technologies. As a result, it can exhibit information about marine life on a transparent display according to visitors’ line of sight.

VR is another tool to make an experience interactive. At the Carrick Museum, Ireland’s last witch trial came to life with cutting-edge virtual reality. Andrew Sneddon, senior lecturer in international history and co-author of the book The Witches of Islandmagee, said:

“The project is designed to take the hidden history of Ireland’s last witch trial to new audiences using new technologies and approaches. It taps into an essential part of Ireland’s cultural heritage and allows people to navigate, in an interactive way, the moral choices and dilemmas in accusing someone of witchcraft in the early modern world.”

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *