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watch disney’s new two-legged robot dance, emote and follow people around

Disney research introduces responsive robot prototype


A Disney Research team introduced its new bipedal robot that looks like Wall-E and can strut, dance, gaze directly, and follow people as if it had its own mind. The unveiling took place at the recent International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in Detroit, which ran from October 1st to 5th, 2023. The bipedal Wall-E robot was developed by a team spearheaded by Moritz Bächer from Disney Research in Zurich. Diving into the robot’s design, it is mostly made up of 3D-printed parts with modular hardware and actuators, making it easy for the design team to work on changes and further develop the robot.

So far, Disney’s new Wall-E robot can balance itself well. As seen in the video, it is able to stay standing even when a cloth is tugged away from under its feet. In a video released by Walt Disney Imagineering, the release says that the new robotic character prototype combines procedural animation, modular hardware, and reinforcement learning to design and program a walking character capable of these traits. Disney’s new robot was able to reach this stage, the one presented during the conference, in just months rather than years, hinting at its potential fast-paced development in the coming months.

disney research new robot
video stills by Walt Disney Imagineering



Disney’s wall-e-looking robot with 3D-printed parts


So far, Disney’s new Wall-E-looking robot, designed by a team led by Moritz Bächer from Disney Research in Zurich, is also able to gaze directly at people and look them up and down as if it were judging their looks. But the sensors installed around it may be able to help the emotive robot scan its surroundings and detect movement, hence its ability to also follow people (just like it does in the video when the young boy walks away from the robot). Its two antennas also move when someone instructs it with something, indicating that the robot can understand gestures and tries to respond accordingly. 

In a statement with IEEE, the design team says that Disney’s new Wall-E-looking robot was born from both the animators’ and the roboticists’ minds and skillsets. The animators design the robots they have in mind, and the roboticists work on the physics and mechanics to bring this design to life. These two teams work hand in hand and will do so more in the near future so that the emotions the animators picture the robot making can be produced in real life through the help of the roboticists at Disney. Down the line, the Disney Research team plans to explore and expand what more the robot can do.

disney research new robot
the two-legged robot may resemble Wall-E

disney research new robot
the two antennas also move to further express its emotions

disney research new robot
the new robot from a Zurich-based Disney Research team can balance itself

disney research new robot
the robot is made up of 3D-printed parts and modular hardware so it can be further developed


Disney Research’s new bipedal robot


project info:


name: Disney Bipedal Robot Prototype

company: Disney

research: Disney Research, Zurich

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