Robots are Going to... Hug us All?

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
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Oct 29, 2000
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Disney has reportedly filed for a new patent for robotic versions of its animated characters, presumably to replace those pesky humans in suits at theme parks. The robots are intended to have a "posing interface, providing soft collisions, and facilitating hugging (or soft human interaction)" or as the Independent puts it: “soft body” robots built specifically for “physical interaction with humans”, which makes it sound a whole lot kinkier.

While I'm usually not a fan of robots taking human jobs, this might be one area where it makes sense. Imagine being inside a huge fur costume, in Florida in the heat and humidity in the middle of the summer, exerting yourself to move around in a heavy costume. To prevent heat exhaustion indoor performers currently work for 30-45 minutes, with 30-45 minute breaks in between. Outside when it is really hot, the work time can get as short as 15-20 minutes. This is certainly one area where robots might do better than humans, though I wonder if the interaction might become less authentic, if there is such a thing as an authentic interaction with Mickey Mouse.

“In practice, the interior space is filled with a gas such as air, and the pressure measured or sensed by the pressure sensor is the pressure of the gas in the interior space, which increases from a non-contact value to a contact value (such as when a human contacts (e.g., squeezes) the outer sidewall of the link).”
 

pfc_m_drake

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This is certainly one area where robots might do better than humans, though I wonder if the interaction might become less authentic, if there is such a thing as an authentic interaction with Mickey Mouse.
My first thought was that it'd be hard for a robot to replace the high-energy/full-on interactive nature that some of the cast members do with a character like Tigger. And I mean, some of them do a *great* job with it.

I'm thinking they start with Bemax but the other more 'lifelike' characters are probably years away from being replaced.
 

Spidey329

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My first thought was that it'd be hard for a robot to replace the high-energy/full-on interactive nature that some of the cast members do with a character like Tigger. And I mean, some of them do a *great* job with it.

I'm thinking they start with Bemax but the other more 'lifelike' characters are probably years away from being replaced.


Maybe a few of the Star Wars characters. But this is one area where reducing labor costs for automation may directly reduce customer experience quality.

Robotic tech isn't where it needs to be to able to properly interact in an energetic way with various sized humans.

I remember going to Disney World when I was 6 and being scared shitless of Goofy. You're not going to get that experience with a robot.
 

FrozenSteel

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I'm surprised they don't have some kind of body thermal management system built into the characters... I mean this is Disney were speaking of here.
 

RAutrey

[H]ard|Gawd
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This is a terrible idea. Someone will get terribly injured or worse (not if but) when a perfect storm of failure occurs.
 

pfc_m_drake

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I'm surprised they don't have some kind of body thermal management system built into the characters... I mean this is Disney were speaking of here.
You're obviously not familiar with the 'new' Walt Disney Company. The 'new' Disney is all about increasing shareholder value. Cast members can sweat - and if you don't like it we'll get somebody who's willing to make less to replace you.
I'm afraid that when Roy died in 2009, so did the heart and soul of what made Disney special.
 
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