3Ders writes of a brand-new patent Disney has just filed. The patent, for “3D printed ‘soft body robots’…is suitable for ‘physical interaction with humans.’ The patent says that Disney has already built a small, human-like prototype based on a popular Disney character.”
If the diagram above is to be believed, we here at Replication World can surmise the robot apocalypse will either be ushered in by something resembling Baymax, the medical robot from Disney’s underappreciated hit Big Hero 6 or from Winnie the Pooh himself.
Of course, many living in the United States (or even beyond) will be familiar with Disney’s famous costumed characters wandering around their myriad parks. Some will have even wondered what secrets and darkness lies in their hearts, beyond the laughter of children and the ever-present sunlight. Well, you won’t have to wonder for much longer, because those costumed actors will soon be replaced!
These robots will have the ability to “interact with children, giving out human-like hugs and greetings in crowds. The patent hints at a plan to introduce humanoid robots at Disney Theme parks, as it strongly emphasizes the importance of a child’s safety. ‘To physically interact with children, the inventors understood that the robot should be soft and durable,’ the patent states.”
“Although the patent suggests several ways in which the robot could be built, there is a strong focus on the 3D printing technologies that could be used to produce various components. Links, joints, bearings, and body segments could all be 3D printed, says the patent, while a Stratasys Objet260 Connex multi-material 3D printer has already been used to 3D print a prototype [a ‘toy-sized’] soft robot.”
“Disney’s soft robots would…be partially filled with air. With the inclusion of various sensors, this would allow the robots to react to pressure, giving natural-feeling ‘hugs’ to humans, as well as giving them the ability to perform other actions. While these motions could eventually be carried out autonomously, the patent mentions that a ‘controller’ would initially handle the task: ‘During operations, the robot controller operates the joint based on the pressure sensed by the pressure sensor,’ it says.”
At least Disney has been courteous by informing us the end is, apparently, 3D printed, offering hugs, and most definitely – nigh!
Image and Quotes Courtesy of Disney and 3Ders