In the process of bringing the comics to the big screen, Marvel has reshaped many vivid characters. The experiences of these characters have constructed countless exciting stories that are fascinating.
Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Doctor Strange, etc., these character names are precious to comic fans.
In 2009, Disney spent US$4.2 billion to earn Marvel's revenue. Of course, Disney, which has nearly 50 years of experience in park operation, also deeply eclips the importance of comic characters from the screen to reality. Fans want more than just visibility, but also Yes, no matter how realistic the movie is, it can’t be as interesting as these characters actually stand in front of you, so Disney “reproduced” a Marvel hero headquarters directly in the real world.
And this Marvel headquarters in the real world will soon welcome its first member.
Disney has been secretly researching robotics technology for many years, and will soon be used for baby groot, the most adorable character in Marvel movie history.
▲ Picture source: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
If someone told you before that Disney is a robotics company, you might raise a few question marks.
But when you see this little Groot coming out from behind the table, taking small steps, raising his head 45 degrees and blinking his eyes, and 1:1 restored his appearance in "Guardians of the Galaxy 2", and finally performed A difficult "Golden Rooster Independence" as the finishing touch of the first show.
You should also be as impressed as I am: In recent years, we have focused all our eyes on Boston Dynamics SPOT. We did not expect that at the other end of the same field, the bionic technology of small biped robots can already be so realistic. Level up.
Since 2018, the Disney technical team has secretly launched a robot project called "Project Kiwi". The team chose to start with the anthropomorphic robots closest to comic characters because they understand that the application potential in different scenarios is not what they are pursuing. Yes, how to make the machine as real and free as humans is the ultimate goal.
Starting from a single leg, imitating the flexion and extension of human walking; soon realized the two-leg walking and trotting, the action at this time is very close to the way humans move, the hip, knee, and ankle joints move together. While maintaining the balance of the posture, the posture is closer to that of a person.
In the latter part of the same year, little Groot, who had only his lower body, twisted and danced.
By 2019, groot's "skeleton" will no longer be exposed, which not only expands the radius of movement, but also moves more freely.
In the video, little Groot’s semi-finished products are wandering in the office, and the team members have long been accustomed to the daily "supervision" of this little partner.
When Groot passed by the meeting room, he even slowed down, showing the feeling of tiptoeing. Between his gestures, he already had the cute appearance of "Silver Guard 2" when the small and medium Groot grew up.
In 2020, the team presented a complete little Groot, and they also put the little Groot in the predator costume that it desperately wanted to take off in the film, with a trace of black humor.
I think this is because the team had to hide the mechanical structure and made the second best choice. If they could, they would definitely want to take off their clothes like little Groot.
In the end, this set of robotics technology can be applied to other Disney IPs in the future. As for why did you choose Little Groot as the test water "little mouse"?
The reason may be simpler than you think. After all, Little Groot can only say "I'm groot". The interaction and actions are relatively simple, even he does not have a nose.
It is worth mentioning that the cables connected to the head of Little Groot seem to be complicated, but they are actually safety ropes and cables. The function of these cables is to facilitate the programming and debugging of engineers, and they can be used offline when they are officially launched. , The team said the built-in battery is enough to provide 45 minutes of battery life.
There is a group of people in Disney who are responsible for turning fantasy into reality
This little Groot, who makes people want to hug home, comes from a department called Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) within Disney. The word Imagineering is a combination of Imagine (fantasy) and Engineering (engineering), so this department It can be translated into Fantasy Engineering Department.
This naming method is very consistent with what Disney has done: “copy” the magic and happy scenes in cartoons and show them in people’s lives. Whether you are an adult or a child, Disney uses “magic power” to create joy for everyone .
WDI was founded in 1952. At the beginning of its establishment, it was to combine fantasy creativity and cutting-edge technology to create an unforgettable and unique experience. So this batch of Imagineers is also the biggest contributor to Disneyland's ever-changing history.
Little Groot is just one of their many works.
Prior to this, they also "turned the hot IP Spider-Man into reality". This robot named Stuntronics was thrown into the air through a rope, and in a few seconds of staying in the air, it can be transformed into a spider in the movie. Chivalrous, making acrobatic movements like tumbling, pressing down, cross-legged, etc. Compared with little Groot's bipedal walking, one goes to the sky and one goes to the ground.
In addition to the characters from the Marvel series, Disney certainly has not forgotten the old IP Pirates of the Caribbean. Although this robot named A1000 is much taller than Groot, its fine and rich facial control capabilities make the expression more vivid and natural. , There are almost no flaws in gestures, except for this extremely unreal face.
Perhaps one day in the near future, all the Captain Jack we saw in Disneyland will be played by him.
As the saying goes, there is a specialization in the art industry, and Disney engineers have an understanding of robots, and they go farther and farther on the road of talking, learning, singing, singing and jumping.
Some people return to the essence and put more emphasis on the practicality of robots. At this time, they have to mention another well-known name, Boston Dynamics.
It’s not the same as the "machine", but both have a bright future
Some robots are born to bring joy and companionship to people, while others are born to be productive. Even though they are incarnations of dance trainees in the video, they are still different from Disney’s robots.
In addition to the Internet celebrity robot dog SPOT, there is also the ATLAS biped robot that danced together some time ago. For the latter, walking like a human is already a basic operation, turning and jumping can "close your eyes." I have to say here that Little Groot and ATLAS actually have the same "father". As early as 2016, Disney hired Scott LaValley, who developed the first prototype version of ATLAS for Boston Dynamics. At that time, he was mainly responsible for ATLAS's leg system.
If you pay attention to Boston Dynamics, you will find that their expertise in industrial robots has been unique in the world. Recently, a "brick-moving" robot named Stretch uses a power arm and a suction cup to cooperate with the walking mechanism to suck up one product after another. Move to the designated location, so that the mechanical arm that can only stay in a fixed position can also plug in its legs and freely shuttle between the factories. In the future, in addition to helping e-commerce platforms, logistics and other companies complete more handling work, it also has great potential in precision processing, flexible manufacturing and other directions.
Perhaps compared to SPOT, Stretch is a bit less cool and does not have too much decoration in appearance, but it is an industrial robot that can efficiently serve different application scenarios, the most important role.
The gimmick faded, and after three changes of ownership, Boston Dynamics urgently needed to prove its value with actual products.
So they put the current R&D focus on improving the practicability of the product. SPOT is used more on the battlefield, or used to respond to emergency situations such as searching for trapped personnel and EOD. Stretch can be related Enterprises bring more efficient labor.
Boston Dynamics makes such a change, which is not only an inevitable choice for mature technology, but also a little helpless to survive under difficult conditions. They choose to empower enterprises or governments to find a new way to stand in the field of robotics. Perhaps this is the case. In order to avoid changing hands four times.
On the other hand, entertainment robots such as Little Groot have found their home in Disney’s entertainment empire. They were born with the mission of accompany big and small friends. Everything that engineers put into it is to bring fantasy into reality and satisfy. People broke the expectations of the Dimensional Wall.
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