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— Science

Disney algorithm has asymmetrical objects in a spin

By - August 10, 2014 7 Pictures
Tops, yo-yos, and other spinning toys are amongst the oldest playthings created by man, with the earliest examples dating back to 3,500 BC. Paradoxically, they’re not very easy to make with their design requiring a lot of trial and error. One mistake and, instead of a pirouetting plaything, you get a clattering paperweight. That’s why spinning toys tend to be symmetrical – until now. In a blow for symmetry, Disney Research Zurich and ETH Zurich have developed a computer algorithm that can take any shape, no matter how cock-eyed, and make it spin like a top. Read More
— Aircraft

Disney World celebrates new park expansion with mechanical flying dragon

By - December 7, 2012 9 Pictures
At the recent grand opening for Disney World's new theme park expansion, New Fantasyland, spectators were greeted with a visit from a surprise guest: a giant, fire-breathing dragon. From the ground, onlookers watched as the mechanical beast soared through the sky, flapping its wings, roaring as it moved its head, and shooting fireworks out of its mouth. Read More

Disney Research robot can juggle, play catch

With the aim of providing some physical interaction between entertainment robots and guests at its theme parks, while still maintaining a safe distance between the two, Disney Research has created an animatronic robot that can play catch and juggle balls with a human partner. Read More
— Automotive

Test Track attraction from Chevy and Disney lets public design their own vehicles

By - November 15, 2012 13 Pictures
Any kid that has dreamt of designing their own car now has the chance to make that dream a (virtual) reality. A collaboration between Chevy designers and Walt Disney Imagineers has resulted in a redesigned, refocused Test Track at the Epcot Theme Park. Instead of telling the tale of vehicle testing and research like the original Test Track did, the new Test Track winds the clock back to the design phase. Read More

Disney patents augmented reality cakes

We've seen some creative uses of augmented reality show up in almost everything, from sandboxes to shopping aisles, but now it looks like we may soon see AR technology implemented in the unlikeliest of places: our food. A recent patent from Disney outlines plans for augmented reality cakes and other food products that would display interactive movies and images on edible treats using a projector and motion sensors. Read More
— Science

Disney Research develops 3D printed optics

By - October 5, 2012 9 Pictures
Researchers at Disney Research Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are experimenting with 3D printed optics using clear resin. Printed optics can create a variety of effects within 3D-printed objects, from focusing light within printed prisms to channeling light through honeycomb-like "light pipes," which give the effect of individually lit pixels. Read More
— Robotics

Disney develops "face cloning" technique for animatronics

By - August 15, 2012 5 Pictures
The “uncanny valley” is one of the frustrating paradoxes of robotics. Every year, roboticists make humanoid robots that more accurately imitate human beings, but it turns out that the better the imitation, the creepier the end result. It’s that strange, hair-raising sensation one gets when visiting the Hall of Presidents at Disneyland. True, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln look very lifelike, but there’s always something wrong that you can’t quite describe. In the hope of bridging this valley, a Disney Research team in Zurich, Switzerland, has invented a new robot-making technique dubbed “face cloning.” This technique combines 3D digital scanning and advanced silicone skins to give animatronic robots more realistic facial expressions. Read More
— Science

Disney Research's gloveless REVEL system adds virtual textures to physical objects

By - August 13, 2012 10 Pictures
Having long been successful with "talkies," Disney has developed technology that could allow the creation of "feelies." While designed more for touchscreens than the silver screen, the REVEL system developed at Disney Research uses reverse electrovibration to bring computerized control over the sense of touch, thereby allowing programmers to change the feel of real-world surfaces and objects without requiring users to wear special gloves or use force-feedback devices. Read More
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