Disney’s R&D laboratory, its fantasy engineering team, has unveiled the mystery of its new robot, which is an indispensable engineering marvel in the movie. It can walk freely, swing its arms at an easy speed, and look like “Baby Groot”. Disney engineers have spent more than three years building a fully functional robot that can even make eye contact with guests. A new report details Disney’s “Kiwi Project”, which plans to soon enable its robots to interact face-to-face with guests visiting Disney theme parks.
A TechCrunch report explained that Disney engineers spared no effort to achieve this feat, using a clever design to place all items in a small space and giving the robot realistic textures. Its skeleton is still hollow to allow air to circulate and cool its motor. According to reports, a charge can last about 45 minutes, but engineers are working hard to improve the backup power supply.
The video started with a robot platform under development, which was tested and corrected by Disney engineers. Finally, Baby Groot went out, waved, and started dancing. It has accurately textured face, hands and feet. The system used on the legs can make the movement more energy-efficient and faster, but it should be gentle when landing to absorb shocks and increase credibility and self-balancing ability. In order to minimize the amount of wiring for the entire kiwi, the team is said to have created a set of origami circuit boards and connected them together with integrated flexible cables.
It must not be that easy. TechCrunch reports that the integrated structure of Disney’s Imagineering division means that engineers can collaborate and share solutions. Although breathtaking, the robot is unlikely to be seen in Disney Park anytime soon.
According to the report, engineers are now working on a new set of actuators to ensure that the robot can handle sudden human interactions. They are also developing a new sensor kit that will enable robots to recognize human faces and help Kiwi shape any child-sized characters from movies and cartoons.
More than 100 million people visit Disney Parks every year. As Baby Groots roam freely in the park, this number is bound to explode.
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