Disney Research

Disney Research

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Disney Research was launched in 2008 as an informal network of research labs that collaborate closely with academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH). We're able to combine the best of academia and industry: we work on a broad range of commercially important challenges, we view publication as a principal mechanism for quality control, we encourage engagement with the global research community, and our research has applications that are experienced by millions of people. We're honoring Walt Disney's legacy of innovation by researching novel technologies and deploying them on a global scale.
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2018
3 May

Paint Job Transforms Walls Into Sensors, Interactive Surfaces

Walls are what they are — big, dull dividers. With a few applications of conductive paint and some electronics, however, walls can become smart infrastructure that sense human touch, and detect things like gestures and when appliances are used.
2017
26 Sep

New way to predict movie-goers' facial expressions

Researchers have been working with Disney Research to develop a new way to assess and predict the facial expressions of movie goers.
29 Aug

A good read: AI evaluates quality of short stories

The idea that artificial intelligence will someday be able to understand and even generate narratives has inspired and motivated researchers for years. A question inextricably bound to both lines of research remains unresolved, however: Can AI recognize a good story if it sees one?
24 Aug

Designing custom robots in a matter of minutes

Even as robots become increasingly common across different parts of our world, they remain incredibly difficult to make.
14 Aug

Revolutionising animated characters' speech

Animating the speech of characters such as Elsa and Mowgli has been both time-consuming and costly. But now computer programmers have identified a way of creating natural-looking animated speech that can be generated in real-time as voice actors deliver their lines.
7 Jul

Accelerating rendering with AI

Researchers have developed a new technology based on artificial intelligence and deep learning that eliminates this noise and thereby enables production-quality rendering at much faster speeds.
28 Jun

When kids talk to robots: Enhancing engagement and learning

Conversational robots and virtual characters can enhance learning and expand entertainment options for children, a trio of studies shows, though exactly how these autonomous agents interact with children sometimes depends on a child's age.
12 May

Internet of things sensors could connect via ambient radio waves

Internet of things systems usually link networks of sensors via radio, but radios demand battery power thus limiting usability.
7 Feb

Online supermarket pick and pack robots

Ocado, the world's largest online-only supermarket, has been evaluating the feasibility of robotic picking and packing of shopping orders in its highly-automated warehouses through the SoMa project, a Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation funded by the European Union.
2016
29 Nov

Making energy harvesting computers reliable

A revolutionary and emerging class of energy-harvesting computer systems require neither a battery nor a power outlet to operate, instead operating by harvesting energy from their environment.
16 Nov

Crowd workers help robot keep conversation fresh

People can find a hundred ways to say the same thing, which poses a challenge to robots that are expected to keep up their end of conversations. A research team's solution is to devise an automated method of crowdsourcing multiple lines of dialogue.
12 Oct

Disney researchers build first tetherless hopping robot

One-legged hopping robots have long been used to study balance issues, but their dependence on off-board power has kept them tethered, literally, to the lab.
5 Apr

Debugging tools for intermittently powered energy harvesting devices

Researchers have developed a system for finding computer bugs in small devices that scavenge their energy from their environment and are subject to intermittent power failures.
2015
18 Nov

Development of a Robot Based on an Animation Character

Disney Research, United States
13 Nov

Wearable can tell what user is touching

A new technology could enable smartwatches to automatically recognize what objects users are touching, for instance, whether the wearer is using a laptop, operating a saw, or riding a motorcycle, creating new opportunities for context-aware apps.
10 Nov

Why are industry experts eagerly awaiting 3D Printing USA 2015?

IDTechEx have brought together thought leaders and industry experts to explore a wide range of technologies and applications, the opportunities and the challenges, so we can work together to grow the industry.
14 Sep

Battery-free smart camera nodes

Scientists have shown that a network of energy-harvesting sensor nodes equipped with onboard cameras can automatically determine each camera's pose and location using optical cues. This capability could help to enable networks of hundreds or thousands of sensors that could operate without batteries or external power and require minimal maintenance.
20 Apr

A layered fabric 3D printer for soft interactive objects

A team from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have devised a 3-D printer that layers together laser-cut sheets of fabric to form soft, squeezable objects such as bunnies, doll clothing and phone cases.
2014
10 Apr

Highlights from IDTechEx's Berlin 2014 show

This year's IDTechEx event on energy harvesting and storage was held in Berlin, Europe. Following attendee feedback and a successful introduction of parallel tracks on the topic of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Santa Clara, California at the end of 2013, the event saw the transformation of the wireless sensor networks (WSN) part of the conference to an event that incorporated significant attention to the advent of the IoT and the way the technologies covered would interact in order to create further adoption and proliferation.
1 Apr

Paper Generators: Harvesting Energy from Touching, Rubbing and Sliding

Disney Research, Pittsburgh, United States