AMS Spring 2023

Disney 3D Prints Prototype for Humanoid Robot, Files Patent Application

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“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney

For decades, Disney has been behind progressive technology not meant just to please visitors to their parks, but also in film and animation. Walt Disney left behind an incredible legacy that continues to inspire future generations of artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and people from nearly every walk of life. In the future, there may be robots walking among those very people in Disney Parks.

The company has filed for a patent application that would indicate Disney is developing humanoid robots that would be interacting with visitors to their parks. Mainly geared toward children, the robots will be designed accordingly. The patent application states that they would be making ‘soft and durable’ robots for physical interaction with children, meant to ‘reduce collision impacts.’ It also includes design information for the controller, to include a joint control module.

From Disney’s patent application: the robot’s upper body.

“The robot includes a link including a rigid support element and a soft body segment coupled to the rigid support element, and the body segment includes a deformable outer sidewall enclosing an interior space. The robot includes a pressure sensor sensing pressure in the interior space of the link. A joint is coupled to the rigid support element to rotate or position the link,” states the patent application.

“During operations, the robot controller operates the joint based on the pressure sensed by the pressure sensor. The robot controller modifies operation of the joint from a first operating state with a servo moving or positioning the joint to a second operating state with the servo operating to allow the joint to be moved or positioned in response to outside forces applied to the link.”

The robot’s torso, to be covered in soft material.

Not surprisingly, the Disney development team has already created a prototype for their robot, described in the patent application as small and toy-sized. What is of greater interest, however, is that they used 3D printing technology to make the prototype, which was then given a covering made of soft material as stated in their previous intention regarding exposure to kids.

Hmmm… maybe a familiar character?

“This robot’s style and other motions…were modeled after a given animated character (e.g., a character from an animated film or television show),” the patent application says.

It should be exciting to see a project like this possibly come to fruition. And while adults may enjoy speculating about what the end product will be with interactive robots, surely the greatest delight will come as children are entertained further at Disney. If you’ve ever stood in line waiting with little ones for signatures from Disney characters, then you realize how enormous the excitement may be when they add humanoids to the mix—not only that, children will be given a taste of what robots and robot technology are capable of, hopefully spurring on interest in the field eventually for both boys and girls. Discuss in the Disney forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: CNN Tech]

 

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