Disney Gets Patent to Take Pictures of People's Feet
It could track theme park guests by their shoes
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2016 4:19 PM CDT
Disney received a patent July 19 for shoe-scanning technology to track visitors throughout its theme parks.   (Patent)

(Newser) – Disney has received a patent to take pictures of visitors' feet at its theme parks, the Los Angeles Times reports. Specifically, the patent titled System and method using foot recognition to create a customized guest experience would scan guests shoes when they enter the park then track them as the move about. According to the Orlando Business Journal, this would allow Disney to track guests' favorite rides and paths through the park. It could also allow them to have Donald Duck greet guests by name or get souvenir photos or videos to them more quickly. The scanners could discern everything from shoe color, to wear patterns, to gum stuck on the sole. Disney filed for the patent back in 2015; it was issued by the US Patent & Trademark Office on July 19.

The company, however, says it has no plans to actually use its foot camera patent. A spokesperson tells the Times that Disney files a lot of patents in an "ongoing effort to relentlessly innovate and push the boundaries of creativity and technology to create immersive experiences and legendary guest service." Disney had already decided against biometric scanning—such as fingerprinting, retinal scans, and facial recognition—to track visitors because it considers it too invasive, the Stack reports. Plus those methods can be thrown off by things like hats and sunglasses. The company also didn't want to track clothing because that would "require cameras that are visible to the person." The shoe-scanning cameras throughout the park would be "out of a person's line of sight." (But will members of "Club 33" have their photos taken?)