Disney wants to make robots of your favorite animated characters

Folks working as Disneyland mascots may want to start looking into possible employment opportunities for the future. The company's crazed scientist branch, Disney Research, is developing a biped robot that can walk like an animated character. See, Disney's goal is to bring its CGI characters "to life in the real world" -- sure, mascots can mimic their looks, but this project could lead to robots that move like they do in their movies. In the researcher's paper, they wrote that robots like the one they're developing are in demand "in the entertainment industry because [they] would allow people to physically interact with characters that they have only seen in films or TV."

The researchers already have a pretty solid idea of what they want to achieve at this point in the project. As you can see in the video above, they seem to be going for a pudgy little dude who walks with a swagger. Unfortunately, the prototype (with its 3D-printed parts and servo motor-actuated joints) still moves like a drunken sailor and needs a lot of work. The tech, of course, has numerous potential applications in addition to being used for theme park attractions if Disney manages to perfect it. A very obvious one is taking it to create moving, talking Pixar/Disney toys every kid would want... and those likely won't come cheap. Good luck, moms and dads.