Is it possible that Disney is developing a life-sized Baymax to roam Disneyland and Walt Disney World?
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has been at work on a new robot that’s covered in soft padding that will be designed to interact with park guests.
“It’s hard to know why Disney decides to file for a patent, but they have been looking at soft-body robots since ‘Big Hero,’” said theme park writer Jim Hill. “Disney is still terrified that even with this soft technology, a robot could accidentally harm a child. They do a lot of testing.”
Could the future of character meet and greets be robots and not costumed cast members? It’s entirely possible. Life-sized robot characters would be the next step in the evolution of audio-animatronics, even if it does sound a little more like West World instead of Walt Disney World.
This new robot technology is being developed by Disney Research Pittsburgh. The “Steel City” is quickly is quickly becoming a tech hub of the east coast.
In a case of art imitating life (and and then life imitating art once again), Baymax’s design was inspired by a soft robot arm developed at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Given that he’s already a squishy robot, Baymax is a natural choice for a prototype Disney character ‘bot. In fact, the patent filed by Disney includes a rendering that depicts a familiar pear-shaped body…
With a Big Hero 6 TV series in the works, the timing of this proposed “Baymax-bot” is pretty spot on. Should the show last for several seasons, that might give Disney time to roll out the first of these robotic characters. Perhaps he’ll be part of the rumored overhaul of Epcot’s Future World.
And if he’s successful? Well, you might be meeting Mecha Mouse one of these days.
For now, however, guests at Walt Disney World will still get to meet Baymax at the Character Spot in Epcot. However, this version is a little more squishy on the inside, so don’t squeeze him too hard.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your level of satisfaction with this news? Do you like the idea of Disney robots running around the parks, or does it sound like an accident waiting to happen? Comment below or in the forums.