Our Robot Overlords are Coming | Disney Develops Robots to Replace Stuntmen

Steven Agar | | Gear ReviewGear Review

Built out of a research experiment called Stickman, Stuntronics are autonomous, self-correcting aerial performers that make on-the-go corrections to nail high-flying stunts every time. Basically robot stuntpeople, hence the name.

TechCrunch spoke to Tony Dohi, Principal R&D Imagineer, and Morgan Pope, Associate Research Scientist at Disney, about the project:

“So what this is about is the realization we came to after seeing where our characters are going on screen,” says Dohi, “whether they be Star Wars characters, or Pixar characters, or Marvel characters or our own animation characters, is that they’re doing all these things that are really, really active. And so that becomes the expectation our park guests have that our characters are doing all these things on screen — but when it comes to our attractions, what are our animatronic figures doing? We realized we have kind of a disconnect here.”

disney, robot, stuntmen
Take me to your leader. Credit: TechCrunch

So they came up with the concept of a stunt double for the ‘hero’ animatronic figures that could take their place within a show or scene to perform more aggressive maneuvering, much in the same way a double replaces a valuable and delicate actor in a dangerous scene. 

How long then until a robot is hucking cliffs, sending it big air style and hitting features in the park? Based on these demos, it’ll be a while yet!

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