March 25, 2023

SXSW 2023: Disney shows off a child-sized robot that rides on roller skates

Disney is taking advantage of its panel space at the SXSW event, which runs until March 15th in Austin, US, to showcase the products that should appear in its parks in the coming years. One of them drew attention for being a robot on roller skates.

The show was hosted by Josh D’Amaro, President of Products and Experiences at Disney Parks, and the theme focused on the art and science of the stories that are told in these places. When, from a wooden box, a small robot the size of a child, with wheels on its feet, was rolled in exactly the same way as roller skates.

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The moment the robot was introduced occurred during the sentence “Can you imagine what it’s like when you’re ice skating for the first time? It’s weird, terrifying for sure, but ultimately exciting.” During the words, the person left the box, fell forward and got up on his own.

The Disney robot is still a prototype, but it works

He has thin legs and torso like a traditional robot, but his hands and head are large and articulated just like the Disney character from the studio’s animation.

“This is our latest effort to create bots that we think can make an emotional connection with our visitors. We use high-performance materials and take advantage of mechanical scaling effects, so it’s dynamic and challenging. But we also have motion capture data, because we want performances that have emotions built into them, commented D’Amaro.

The executive wouldn’t comment on how the robot works, what its name is, not even if it was autonomous, or if it was being controlled by someone on some sort of remote control. We also don’t know how long this build’s battery can sustain a presentation in the theme park, let alone how long it will be at any of the Disney locations.

Disney has just confirmed that while the robot is still in the prototype stage, it is already capable of more humane maneuvers like falling and standing on its own and without difficulty. The company also commented that its creation was able to do somersaults. With that said, the end product could be very different and I imagine it could be, because the way it’s presented is more surprising than good-for-it because it passed through the valley of weirdness.

via: Disney parks.

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