Since the 1950s, The Walt Disney Company has utilized and often invented the latest technology for their Audio-Animatronics- specialized, life-like robots used primarily for their parks. Their latest program, Project Kiwi, is yet another step forward in Disney’s long-standing tradition of innovation.
Project Kiwi is a technology developed and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering over the past few years. The latest example of this technology has resulted in a life-life robot based on the popular Guardians of the Galaxy character Groot.
Scott LaValley, a principal Imagineer working on the project, said this to TechCrunch:
“Project KIWI started about three years ago to figure out how we can bring our smaller characters to life at their actual scale in authentic ways. It’s an exciting time for bipedal robotics and with an incredible team and our combination of technology, artistry and magic, we are bringing characters to life that could not have happened anywhere but Disney.”
The term “bipedal robot” refers to a robot character that is able to walk independently on its own two legs. Though there are currently no plans for Project Kiwi to be integrated into the parks, it is likely that one day guests will be able to interact and converse with these robots that walk and talk with no help from a human operator.
This would include Marvel characters like Groot, of course, but will likely be applied to other facets of Disney fandom as well, with the most obvious being utilized in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The goal for the Imagineers is to authentically replicate beloved Disney characters in size, shape, and manner.
Groot, for example, has a wide range of personality traits that can be seen with their recently created model including various moods that are reflected in the way Groot speaks and even walks.
For more technical details about how these robots are developed, head on over to the original report at TechCrunch, where the technological processes are explained in-depth.