A Robotic Baby Groot Will Soon Be Roaming Disney Parks

Disney Imagineers recently shared an exciting glimpse into the future of their theme parks with the unveiling of a new robot that will soon be roaming the Disney parks. This adorable machine is a rendition of baby Groot from the beloved franchise Guardians of the Galaxy.

In a captivating video, the robot showcases its impressive abilities, from talking and dancing to displaying emotions. In the video, Executive R&D Imaginer Joel Peavy emphasized Disney’s commitment to bringing characters to life in the most authentic way possible, stating, “We’re a storytelling company, so we want to bring these characters to life in the most authentic way possible. For us, that means a walking, robotic actor… that can move, gesture, and emote in style.”

The robot’s lifelike capabilities aim to create an immersive experience for park guests. Michael Serna, Executive Creative Director of Disney Live Entertainment, expressed his amazement at the response from guests, stating, “Ideally, we want guests to get excited, but this is the first time I’ve seen guests get visibly excited—adults, kids. It is shocking what they get to see, and they understand how unique and fun this is.”

Described by Imagineering as a “free-roaming robotic actor,” this new character is designed to seamlessly portray various similarly-sized Disney characters. It boasts a tightly integrated design, offering over 50 degrees of freedom within a compact platform that enables it to walk, gesture, and emote in a stylish manner. Through custom authoring tools combining whole-body motion planning and traditional character animation, artists can quickly bring these robotic characters to life, incorporating expressive motions and interactive behaviors.

While the robot is still undergoing testing, and it may take some time before it can be experienced firsthand or even hugged by visitors, its eventual arrival on the global stage is sure to be a spectacle not to be missed.

In the meantime, Disney has been exploring the possibilities of other robots. Earlier this year, at the South by Southwest tech festival in Austin, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development showcased a robotic roller skating bunny. This demonstration was part of Disney’s ongoing efforts to develop robots capable of “emotionally connecting” with park guests.

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