‘Project EXO’ in the Works at Disney!

Source: Disney

Remember how at the beginning of this year we shared with all you Insiders “Project Kiwi” that Disney was working on? Walt Disney Imagineering had introduced the project they had been diligently working on where they created a walking life-size Groot and it completely blew everyone away. Well this year at Destination D23, Josh D’Amaro and Imagineers introduced another similar project they are working on.

Disney Imagineers are working on bringing some of our favorite characters – of all sizes – to life in authentic ways at Disney Parks. Right now they’re developing a full-body exoskeleton system they’ve nicknamed “Project EXO.”  It’s still in early concept development and Josh and team shared a glimpse at what the future of Disney Parks may look like! It’s a completely amazing project and it just goes to show how Disney is always evolving and working to create new and amazing experiences for us at the parks.

The idea of this project is to eventually have these robotic characters walking around the park and interacting with Guests. I know, it sounds a little “Westworld” right? Could you imagine walking around and having huge robotic Hulk or Big Hero 6 characters just strolling around? What an idea right?

CNBC News was able to dive a little deeper than what was presented at Destination D23 and showed an example of what’s being worked on by Imagineers at a warehouse in Glendale, California. Check out the giant articulated green hand in the picture below, using a mechanism attached to a metal gauntlet to pinch two massive fingers and a thumb around a tiny plastic taco. The interaction is a play on the Hulk handing Ant-Man two tacos during “Avengers: Endgame.”

Close up of a prototype anatomical hand from Disney Imagineering's Project Exo.
Source: CNBC

“One of the things that is so exciting about a project like this is that characters are a big way that we bring our lands to life, and having these gigantic characters that guests are going to be able to see from a far way away… I think that is a really exciting prospect,” said Leslie Evans, Disney’s chief Imagineer.

CNBC also reported that “The group is testing 3D printing methods to create muscles that can mimic authentic humanoid movements, something that was not possible with foam. These particular prototypes are much lighter than traditional materials, meaning performers don’t have to carry as much weight and could remain comfortable in the costume for longer periods.”

Disney's Imagineering 3D printed muscle for its exoskeleton prototype.
Source: CNBC

This project has been kept very hush, hush and we are just now getting a sneak peek at what’s to come and what the future looks like at the Disney Parks. While they are still a long way off in presenting these robot characters to Guests, we can for now appreciate the projects and enjoy the Spiderman robot at Avengers Campus in Disney’s California Adventure that gives quite the jaw-dropping performance!

We will report more on this project as Disney shares more information!