According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has recently filed a patent to “have amusement-park rides sense when an occupant is in a seat” in order to synchronize audio-animatronics’ mouths with the music and other audio going on within the attraction. This way, the audio-animatronics’ mouths might more accurately move along with the words of the music and dialogue.
With a little digging, we believe we’ve found the mentioned patent. The patent is named “System for controlling robotic characters to enhance photographic results.” There seems to be multiple parts and ways of implementation in this patent that Disney can use to better improve their rides, shows, and even their parades. One of the primary objectives of this patent is to create more photogenic animatronics and characters with robotic heads. Part of this is for the audio-animatronics to not only synchronize with the music, but also smile, blink at timely moments, and even pose for the guests/camera.
Outside of that, there isn’t currently a lot of information that can be extracted from the legal verbiage of the patent, but if and when more details become available, we will be sure to report on them.