- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Disney has filed three patents for drone-controlled puppets — a creative effort aimed at boosting the company’s ability to move blimp-sized characters in a more realistic manner, especially during parades.

For instance, one drone patent describes a complex aerial system that would allow choreographed drones to form in the air like pixels, the Daily Mail reported.

The second drone patent would rely on drones to position projection screens for light displays that wow a crowd, the newspaper said. And the third focuses on drones that can be used to move the legs and arms of “blimp-sized string puppets.

Disney expects that the drones could be pre-programmed and controlled on the ground. Company officials also say the drones would be equipped with self-monitors to ensure they don’t crash, especially on windy days.

“This is a significant improvement over prior flying characters, which typically were provided in the form of parade or other blimps/balloons filled with hot air or other gases and that had little and/or awkward articulation of any movable parts,” Disney said, in its patent application, the Daily Mail reported.

The patent investors were Clifford Wong of Burbank, James Alexander Stark of South Pasadena sand Robert Scott Trowbridge, also of California.

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