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30 Mar 2023

Disney reveals plans for robot designed to have 'emotional connection' with people
BY Tom Walker

The robot has motion capture data embedded in its movements

The robot has motion capture data embedded in its movements
photo: Youtube.com/Disney Parks

Disney has revealed a new animatronic robot, designed to have an “emotional connection” with people.

Revealed at SXSW Media Festival earlier this month, Disney unveiled a two-legged droid that is able to perform a multitude of tricks – such as using rollerblades and executing small somersaults.

When speaking at the festival, chair of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Josh D’Amaro, demonstrated the prototype's ability to make dynamic motions including “falling down and getting back up”.

The new template for many Disney animatronics is said to have motion capture data embedded in the robot’s movements.

This would allow it to have natural animations which ‘give life’ to the robot.

During the display, D’Amaro announced that the new robots will be making an appearance at various attractions and would be able to build an ‘emotional connection’ with people.

Without revealing further details, this could mean the robots will be able to communicate with visitors.

The company is still to announce whether the robot is controlled by a person or artificial intelligence.

As proved by the Spider-Man animatronic on the Avengers Campus in Disneyland, which was first displayed in June 2021, robots which perform ‘daring stunts’ are known to garner large crowds.

The Spider-Man animatronic is able to perform a full swing across a building, and then land on a trampoline.

Videos of the attraction gained a substantial amount of social media attention – including a TikTok video which has over 11 million views as of March 2023.

Disney has published a video which shows the robot in action at SXSW.





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