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WATCH: Disney’s new robot rollerblades and somersaults on its own

The robot was one of several innovations featured at the Disney Imagineering presentation at SXSW


This year’s SXSW festival is underway in Austin, Texas, allowing attendees to celebrate their mutual love for film, music, and interactive media. Over the years, the festival has become a premiere setting for tech and entertainment companies to reveal new innovations.  On March 10th, Disney Imagineers gave a presentation at the festival highlighting new experiences that they would be bringing to Disney theme parks over the next few years.

See also: ‘Hey Disney!’ virtual assistant begins rollout at Walt Disney World

Photo: Disney Imagineering/YouTube

With an emphasis on enabling parks to give a storytelling experience, Disney’s presentation included new character models, giant exoskeletons that performers can wear, as well as their new lightsaber patent. The reveal that garnered the biggest reaction, however, might have been their new robot. The robot surprised everyone by crawling and tumbling out of her crate on her own, before steadying herself and standing up on rollerblade feet.  Manufactured with “high performance materials, [while] taking advantage of mechanical scaling effects,” the small, childlike robot has also been programmed with motion-capture data, as Disney wants their robots to have an emotional connection to park attendees.

The robot demonstrated a surprising amount of autonomy, being able to skate, pick herself up, and even execute a planned somersault. Notably, the robot bears a striking resemblance to the character of Judy Hopps from the film Zootopia. As such, many are speculating that the robot may debut at the upcoming Zootopia expansion at Shanghai Disney. Regardless, it would be fascinating to see such a robot rollerblading freely through theme parks in the future.

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