Disney’s New Lifelike Animatronic Robots

Disney Research unveiled a lifelike robot with similar gazing abilities as humans. 

  • Disney Research unveiled a lifelike robot with eerily similar gazing abilities as humans.
  • The robot can mimic human actions like head tilts, blinking, breathing, and rapid eye movement.
  • This new development is a part of Disney’s goal to create robots that can interact with people in a human-like manner by using what the company calls “the illusion of life.”

The robot has all the components of a human face, such as eyelids, eyes, a nose, and a mouth with teeth and gums.

The robot relies on a camera sensor on its torso.

The robot can mimic human-like actions like tilting its head, blinking, rapid eye movements, and breathing, to name a few functions.

Disney Research present a general architecture that seeks not only to create gaze interactions from a technological standpoint, but also through the lens of character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion is paramount; that is, it seeks to create an interaction which demonstrates the illusion of life.

A complete system is described that perceives persons in the environment, identifies persons-of-interest based on salient actions, selects an appropriate gaze behavior, and executes high, fidelity motions to respond to the stimuli.

It use mechanisms that mimic motor and attention behaviors analogous to those observed in biological systems including attention habituation, saccades, and differences in motion bandwidth for actuators. Additionally, a subsumption architecture allows layering of simple motor movements to create increasingly complex behaviors which are able to interactively and realistically react to salient stimuli in the environment through subsuming lower levels of behavior. The result of this system is an interactive human-robot experience capable of human-like gaze behaviors.