"Shocked, I might have seen the real Abraham Lincoln." "This tall and lonely man sits on a chair, exactly like the stone statue of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.", "It's just that this Lincoln is a life size And it seems to have flesh and blood."
This is described by Robert De Roos, author of the article " Walt Disney's Wizarding World " published in "National Geographic" in 1963. He saw " "Lincoln" with emotion.
This Lincoln is not only lifelike, but can also vividly make 15 different expressions. It is a product of Disney's exclusive technology of Audio-Animatronics.
▲How Lincoln made it. Picture from: National Geographic
But now, when we see Lincoln again, it may be difficult to feel the shock of the 1960s, or even "fake a glance." Our eyes have been trained by CGI (computer three-dimensional animation) on the big screen for many years.
Facing the more critical eyes of the masses, Disney sent Walt Disney Imagineering to take over.
▲ Baby groot
And WDI also brought out the things that had been studied for several years at the bottom of the box, and not only created a little Groot, but also arranged a Spider-Man.
▲ Spiderman stuntman who hasn't put on a battle suit. Picture from: Gigazine
Currently, the Spider-Man will appear in the "Spider Web: Adventures of Spider-Man" project in the Avengers Park.
From "brick" to stuntman
The gameplay of "Spider Web" is more traditional and not exciting, but the high-altitude performance of Spider-Man is a highlight of this project. Without the protection of a safety rope, "Spiderman" would be thrown by spider silk to a height of 20 meters. Like Peter Parker in the movie, he would roll, press, and cross his legs in the air.
▲ Concept drawing of the spider web project. Image from: Disney
The Spider-Man flies several times a day, and if he is performed by a real stuntman, he will risk his life every time he jumps. In view of this, WDI made a stunt robot to play "Spiderman" to complete this challenge.
The robotic stuntman was only responsible for loosening the tow rope at a suitable angle, then rolling in the air, and finally stretched and landed in the buffer net.
In other words, it does not walk, talk and interact. At this time, the Dutch brother should breathe a sigh of relief and give WDI a thumbs up.
Although the performance process is mechanical enough and even a bit boring, there are still quite a few difficulties that need to be overcome by WDI.
The timing of "body folding", the timing of letting go, maintaining a stable posture in the air, and the control of landing (net), etc.
Before becoming the "Spiderman" of the Disney park, the stunt robot developed by WDI has gone through four generations.
The initial prototype is a robot called "the brick", which can control the center of gravity, and can control the attitude and autonomous rotation in the air.
On this basis, WDI has developed a stickman (Stickman), which adds a foldable mechanism to the bricks to simulate the shape of one leg and one arm.
Through program control, when swaying on the rope, first bend your knees and accelerate. After reaching a certain angle, "release your hand" to swing into the air with the help of inertia, while stretching the body, and the "bricks" in it make a perfect turn. Finally lay flat on the net.
As a result, a complete set of actions that simulate "Spider-Man" shuttles between buildings.
WDI then combined two sets of stickman (Stickman) into a humanoid form, which became a set of prototypes. On this basis, a series of optimizations such as optimization and collaboration are carried out, and finally it becomes the humanoid stunt robot of Stuntronics.
From the stick robot to the final Stuntronics, the WDI team omitted a lot in the Wired interview, and did not focus on the team's efforts.
And more on how to be more like a real Spider-Man, and to ensure safety.
▲Wandering in the city while playing on the phone
"Making robots requires 100% accuracy" Tony of the development team stated that in order to make Stuntronics more human-like, "The team designed and simulated many sets of actions for Stuntronics to present a reckless Peter Parker." .
During the performance, Stuntronics may make a perfect forward somersault in the air, or it may only stretch one arm, do a horizontal flip, or do a set of twisted tumbling and spinning. Come.
Stuntronics weighs about 40 kilograms. The impact of a free fall from a height of 20 meters can be imagined. For this reason, the WDI team has continuously monitored the climate and wind speed of California Disney Adventure Park for a year, and classified it into the Stuntronics action algorithm. Among.
In the outdoor test, the Spider-Man stuntman's landing points were all within a controllable range.
The landing point, or the landing area, is actually a deceleration net about 4 meters long, but Stuntronics, which flies several times a day and is open all year round, breaks the deceleration net any day, causing irreparable losses ( Mainly Stuntronics is relatively expensive).
The shell of Stuntronics is made of resin and made by a 3D printer. Even if the deceleration net is broken, the WDI team also stated that the resin shell can protect the expensive and sophisticated motherboard, processor and corresponding wiring.
At present, the Spider-Man played by Stuntronics is only planned to appear in California Disney Adventure Park and Paris Disney Studios for the time being, and the corresponding plans have not yet been announced for the rest of the region.
If this dedicated stuntman plays Spider-Man on the Internet, Disney will invite it to parks around the world, and even logically let Stuntronics play more superhero roles.
What Disney wants is more like an actor
Robots can be said to be the darling of the current market and capital. Before, there were the well-known Internet celebrity Boston-powered robots, followed by the Tesla Bot on the Tesla AI Day, and then domestic companies such as Xiaomi and Xiaopeng have launched similar robot products. .
▲ Actor playing Tesla Bot. Picture from: Tesla
Without exception, they have a great relationship with AI, or they are more like robots with a certain degree of "autonomous" ability. On the Disney side, the robots appearing or participating in the show are more "passive" on the surface.
During the interview, the Stuntronics development team never mentioned AI, or even complex processors. The stuntman has a built-in gyroscope and speedometer similar to a smartphone to sense space and status information, and three lidars installed at the joints for distance measurement.
The so-called built-in algorithm may only preset a few actions, and temporarily does not have the characteristics of its own interpretation.
Before the Spider-Man stuntman appeared, Disney also brought baby Groot into reality.
Similar to Stuntronics, which is already ready to work, Little Groot will also appear in Disney's corresponding projects in the future, with similar functions, which can be called "entertainment" robots.
Unlike the products of other companies, robots bear many important tasks, representing the company's strength in intelligence and functionality. After Boston Dynamics has changed owners several times, the focus of the company has returned to practicality. SPOT has been sent more to battlefields and special environments to bring more efficient labor to related companies.
Although the Tesla Bot is more like a Musk-style "gimmick" at this stage, it still shows Tesla's accomplishments in AI and a general direction for future development. Without a specific industrial form, the humanoid shape can better integrate into the society and do some boring work instead of us.
And these Disney robots are directly under the Disneyland, playing the role of receiving people, performing, and bringing wonders and wonders.
▲ The interactive robot prototype announced by Disney in May 2016. Picture from: Disney
Disney’s Fantasy Engineering Department has many prototypes similar to stick robots. Humanoid, interactive, and low-intelligence are similar.
▲ The Avengers Base Park opened on June 4th. Picture from: Disney
Just like the Audio-Animatronics that Disney was proud of in 1963, the initial purpose of investment and research on robots was to serve Disneyland, and the goal was also very clear, that is, to integrate Disney movies, The world in the animation moves into reality and becomes the magical world in the real world.
Simply put, Disney’s goal may be the sunny version of "Westworld", while other companies want to create "Bicentennial Man".
Just looking at it now, it seems that Disney is a little closer to the goal?
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