The Next Disney Princess Might Be A Westworld-Like Humanoid [Video]By Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
A subsidiary of Walt Disney company has filed a patent for a robot with a soft body meant for human interaction. This gives the idea that Disney is pushing for human-like humanoids to entertain visitors. So it won't be a surprise that in the near future, the next Disney princess might be something like the androids in Westworld.
The patent they are applying for is a humanoid with soft, deformable body. This design intends the robots to be kid-friendly as well as having fluid and safe movements. For the robot to be able to move just like that, it needs to be equipped with sensors that will progressively adjust to constant hugging and unexpected human interactions.
The inventors created a small prototype of this robot similar to Baymax, the inflatable robot from the 2014 Disney hit, Big Hero 6. According to the description, the robot's body parts are filled with liquid or gas that makes it softer.
The abstract on the patent application of Disney Enterprises said that they believe that there is a need for robots that should interact with people. In order for that to be effective, the robot should have soft body parts and durable but, at the same time, safe.
The inventors are right that there is indeed a need for such types of robots and not just for entertainment or therapeutic purposes. For example, a woman who works at a Michigan factory had her skull crushed by a robot that went berserk.
At present, robot body parts are rigid and hard which is likely to cause serious injury, even death just like it did to the Michigan woman. This design is also the reason why animatronics has a barrier between them and the audience.
Although Disney was able to create a robot, Lucky the Dinosaur, that can freely interact with guests, it still lacks the physical forgiveness and understanding of humans. Through this patent application, however, Disney hopes to create more human-like robots to entertain and interact with guests in the future.