Hit play on the Awesome Mix and I will follow robot Baby Groot anywhere.
Disney Parks has revealed a look at its latest expressive robot creation, the likes of which we may eventually see free-roaming Disneyland and beyond. While we got Judy Hopps vibes from the first prototype revealed at SXSW earlier this year, that all changes with this look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2-era Baby Groot, who was brought out by Imagineers for a play test with guests. He’s cute, he dances, he talks, and he looks like he has feelings—which is totally not a hint of sentience to be worried about. (Sorry, we’ve watched too much sci-fi rise of robots stories recently... and M3GAN is still giving us nightmares.)
Making robot Baby Groot look like he must be protected at all costs is a clever and delightful way to make us not think about what he looks like on the inside. Here’s a video of the adorable dance party where you can see him show off his movies opposite Star-Lord and some Ravagers.
Baby Groot looks ready for prime time, but Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development aren’t turning him loose in Disney Parks just yet. The prototype is being used to test capabilities for the tech’s use for similar characters (give us Grogu too!) to interact with human performers and audiences. Imagineering describes this creation as a “free-roaming robotic actor that can take on the role of our similarly-sized Disney characters. Its tightly integrated design provides over 50 degrees of freedom in a compact platform that can walk, gesture, and emote in style. Using custom authoring tools that combine whole-body motion planning and traditional character animation, artists can quickly bring robotic characters to life with expressive motions and interactive behaviors.”
Well, there’s certainly nothing Westworld-y about any of that. Who would you like to see become our next robot overlord—er, become a cute character to interact with at Disney Parks?
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