Disney imaginers revealed a free-roaming animatronic
The robot was developed as part of Walt Disney’s “Project Kiwi” Imagineering Research & Development
Tightly integrated robot design offers over 50 degrees of freedom in a compact platform
He can bring robotic characters to life with expressive movements and is able to walk, gesture and move in style
Disney Imagineers has revealed a free-roaming animatronic that could revolutionize the design of visitor experience and experience at attractions.
Using cutting edge technology – and developed as part of Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development’s “Kiwi Project” – the small-scale robotic actor can take on the role of a Disney character without the need for human actors.
The tightly integrated animatronics design delivers over 50 degrees of freedom in a compact platform that can walk, gesture, and move in style. Most of the components were custom made to meet size and weight requirements.
Walt Disney Imagineering said, “Using custom creation tools that combine full body motion planning and traditional character animation, artists can quickly bring robotic characters to life with expressive movements and interactive behaviors.
A prototype of the “Project Kiwi” technology – in the form of the character Groot from the Marvel Universe – was recently presented to the media and is currently being used to test unique traits, gait, and abilities.
Disney’s in-depth knowledge of realistic animation was used to inform the development of the prototype – with software capable of expressing a range of personalities through gait and posture.
Disney says the 2021 iteration of animatronics may cope with environmental factors such as wind and uneven surfaces, but is not yet ready to be fully deployed, so there are no immediate plans for it. use the technology in Disney parks and the project remains in the laboratory for the moment.
The next stage of development will see Imagineers working on two additional features: actuators that will allow the robot to “handle sudden human interactions” and sensors that will allow it to identify human faces and interact appropriately.
Customizing technology to record guest recognition has long been a priority for Disney, as part of its philosophy of deep engagement.
Once ready for deployment, the robotic actor should be made to take the form of a number of kid-sized Disney characters.
See a video of the evolution of the Kiwi project below.
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