Disney Launches New Era Of Autonomy With GravityDefying Stickmen And More

first_imgEver since the première of “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, The Walt Disney Company has pushed the envelope of imagination. Mickey Mouse is still more popular worldwide than any single human actor. In fact, from that one cel an entire world of animated characters was birthed. The entertainment powerhouse demonstrated last week a new generation of theatrics with a flying robot-like stuntman (hero pause and all) that is destined to become a leading player in the age of autonomy.In the words of Dr. Morgan Pope of Disney Research, “We’d like to do something that’s not just human, but beyond human… The hope here is that we’re delivering something physical and tangible, as opposed to virtual and digital.” The research of creating the  “beyond human” could field more important products than just theme-park animatronics. According to Dr. Pope’s research, the “Stickman” (video above)  is a “two-degree freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch and produces a variety of somersaulting stunts.” By leveraging the physics of the streamlined design the robot is able to swing “through the air on a pendulum, ‘tucks’ to change its moment of inertia, releases, ‘untuck;” to reduce its spin, and gracefully lands on its back on a foam mat.” The robot’s dynamics are controlled by “an IMU [inertial measurement unit] and a laser range-finder to estimate its state mid-flight and actuates to change its motion both on and off the pendulum.”In an IEEE Spectrum article authored by Dr. Pope, the scientist shares his inspiration for Stickman – the gold-medal gymnast Simone Biles. In describing Biles signature move, Pope writes, “It’s a beautiful example of how the seemingly simple physics of ballistic motion, completely governed by a relatively simple conservation of angular momentum, can produce amazing and unexpected results.” Beyond replacing movie stuntmen with pendulum swinging robots, Disney research aims to leverage its platform to accomplish two major objectives: 1) teach science and engineering and 2) push the boundaries of what is possible with machines. Dr. Pope exclaims, “We saw two potential benefits of building robots that could perform acrobatic stunts while aloft. First, a robotic performer can answer questions about how a performance is accomplished that are more difficult to answer with a human performer… Second, the force, speed, and precision required to execute acrobatic maneuvers push the limits of robot capability in a way that has the potential to be relevant to the broader field.” Disney Launches New Era Of Autonomy With Gravity-Defying Stickmen And MoreJuly 18, 2018 by Oliver Mitchell 346SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin Filed Under: Cool Tech, Tech Tagged With: Hanson Robotics, Savioke, Spherolast_img read more

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