Disney debuts cute, roller skating robot bunny to 'emotionally connect' with visitors

The robotic bunny was introduced during The Art & Science Behind Disney's Timeless Storytelling presentation.
Mrigakshi Dixit
Prototype of robot.
Prototype of robot.

Disney Parks/Twitter 

At the South by Southwest tech festival in Austin, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development Inc. unveiled its newest creation, a roller skating bunny.

It was presented by Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, along with Walt Disney Imagineers Tony Dohi, Tony Dibani, and Morgan Pope. The robotic bunny was introduced during a presentation titled "The Art & Science Behind Disney's Timeless Storytelling."

The demonstration was part of Disney's efforts to create robots capable of "emotionally connecting" with the guests at the theme parks. It uses motion-capture data to create life-like performances and connect with the audience.

The robot has droopy ears, similar to a rabbit on roller skates. During the presentation, the robotic bunny tumbled out of a box by performing a forward roll — just like Disney's animated characters. It also demonstrated various skills, such as rollerblading and somersaulting, while wobbling slightly in the process.

“We are using high-performance materials and taking advantage of mechanical scaling effects — so she’s dynamic and tough,” Pope said. Further adding, “But we’re also using motion capture data because we want to make performances that have emotion embedded in them.”

Dohi and Pope were also the creative minds behind the amazing Spider-Man robot that performs backflips in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure. 

Plans for other similar technologies

This initiative will aid in bringing some of Disney's most beloved characters to life. The robots will be designed to mimic a character's unique characteristics, providing guests at theme parks with fascinating and engaging experiences. Disney also revealed plans for other similar technologies, like Tinker Bell. During the presentation, a tiny Tinker Bell robot appeared in a lantern and responded to questions in real-time.

According to a report, the bunny robot resembles the rabbit Judy Hopps from Disney's Oscar-winning 2016 animated film Zootopia. However, Disney has yet to reveal the official name of this bunny robot, as well as when it will be visible in the parks. 

It is highly anticipated to see the implementation of these life-like robots in theme parks of Disney.

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