Back in November Universal Orlando Resort filed a patent to introduce “in-ride” cleaning procedures and ride designs. With the new threat of spreading germs post-COVID-19, this type of innovation is exciting.
The new patent suggests the technology will be introduced to future attractions, however, this could mean they already have the tools in place to upgrade current rides to prepare for what the new “normal” may be.
The patent includes building a compartment within a ride vehicle to clean “an article of the amusement park ride”. This compartment would likely be used to clean 3D glasses, AR goggles, or even VR headsets.
This new system would use ultraviolet light and/or a sanitizing fluid to clean the items. Depending on the design of the ride and the item needing cleaning, the ultraviolent light can be turned on for different amounts of time.
The current sanitization process for most rides is for the articles to be collected after use. They are then taken to a separate cleaning facility, and then returned to the ride. According to the patent, this is “time-consuming” and inefficient.
If an article takes longer to clean than the short amount of time between visitors getting off and then on the ride, the ride vehicle could have several cleaning compartments. One item could be worn by the visitor while the other item could then be cleaned during the ride to be ready for the next guest.
The patent also notes changes for frequently touched parts on the ride vehicle like handles or lap bars. Rather than relying on manual sanitization between riders, the guest-facing panel could have several sides. For example, in figure 6, the panel has four sides which are rotated after each use. The three sides that are not being used are sanitized.
It is possible that this new technology could be used in the new rides at Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan or California or Universal’s Epic Universe. Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, Universal has said that work is still continuing on these projects and they are on track.