Disney unveiled a new rollerblading prototype robot that can perform somersaults, fall down, and get back up during a panel at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro unveiled the robot during his presentation titled “Creating Happiness: The Art & Science of Disney Parks Storytelling.” The presentation aimed to showcase Disney’s commitment to innovation and how the company creates “intentional environments designed for happiness,” the company said in a news release.
The new robot prototype, which resembled Judy Hopps from Disney’s “Zootopia” film and was revealed for the first time on Friday, displayed several capabilities by making dynamic maneuvers, including falling down and getting back up, as well as performing a somersault.
According to Disney, the dynamic robot incorporates motion-capture data to create performances that evoke emotion, giving Disney Imagineers a new way to bring out a character’s personality.
Walt Disney Imagineering, the team behind the creation of immersive environments in the company’s theme parks across the globe, shared their ambitious ideas that bring Disney stories to life and spark happiness for millions worldwide. The unveiling of the new robot prototype showcased how Disney is pushing the boundaries of what characters can do in theme parks. By “incorporating motion-capture data” into the robot’s design, Disney Imagineers can create performances that evoke emotion and bring a character’s personality to life, D’Amaro said during the panel on Friday.
“Disney’s 100-year legacy is built on the intersection of creativity, innovation, and storytelling,” D’Amaro said. “We’re humbled by the fact that millions of people choose Disney as their vacation destination every year to escape into our beloved stories. To our guests around the world, I want to tell you that we’ve only just begun.”
“We want to invent the future once again – together – drawing on a range of voices and perspectives that will help us continue to create even more happiness around the world,” D’Amaro said.
Disney also recently debuted its first character as part of Project Exo robotic character exoskeletons. Smart Hulk made his first appearance at Disneyland Resort last year. The Exo technology is also on display at South by Southwest. In 2021, Disney made headlines when it unveiled the first “real” lightsaber. The new technology is now featured on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World.