Disney not only works on all kinds of films and series and has been offering its own comprehensive streaming service since spring 2020, but is also active in many other areas. For example, it is known for its own theme parks called Disney Land, which are located all over the world. “Walt Disney Imagineering”, which was founded by Walter Disney himself in 1952 and at the time designed and ultimately implemented the first Disney Land Park, is probably less common. The company’s research and development department has long been working on human-like robots on two legs, which are primarily intended to be used in amusement parks. A highly advanced and functional prototype has now been introduced – in the form of a popular Marvel figure!
Marvel figure as a robot
The robot known as “Project Kiwi” is Baby Groot from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He can walk on two legs, move his arms and is even capable of different facial expressions. Other characters from the Disney portfolio are also to be implemented as robots and, like Baby Groot, will run around freely in the Disney Land parks and interact with visitors.
He runs, laughs, speaks
It is no wonder that “Project Kiwi” is reminiscent of the humanoid Boston Dynamics robot Atlas: A former Boston Dynamics employee, Scott Christopher LaValley, also works for the Disney team. “Project Kiwi” has been in development for around three years, and Baby Groot is the first functional prototype that the team has to show. In the video published by Disney, the robot can be seen in action, which (as can be easily seen) is currently still attached to a stabilizing cable, but is already running autonomously and battery-powered.
Robots in amusement parks
Baby Groot’s technology is mainly built into the torso, i.e. the batteries, control unit and motors, for example. There are optical sensors in the head in order to perceive the outside world and in the future also park visitors and to interact with them. The Disney robots should also be able to communicate by voice in the future. However, the project is still in a rather early stage. It will therefore be a few years before Baby Groot and other popular Disney characters walk independently as robots through Disney Land.
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