Disney Research Pittsburgh has just released the video below which demonstrates one of its latest projects: an audio animatronic robot that can interact with people by playing catch with them. The system uses an off-the-shelf Microsoft Kinect (according to the video’s narration) along with an external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman ?lter to predict ball destination and timing. So not only is the robot able to track a human’s position and size by the location of their head, but it can attempt to move its hand to catch the ball. If the robot misses the catch, it’s fully aware and even responds with one of several different humorous animations to elicit a response from the person interacting with it.
Disney Research has also been able to use its system to successfully juggle up to three balls at a time when a professional juggler is used as the participant.
According to the video and its description, Disney Research is hopeful that this product leads to a fully interactive experience between guests and audio animatronics in environments such as theme parks, while managing to keep the guest a safe distance from the robots.