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.
This morning, I was awoken by an assault of doorbell rings, only to find there was no one at the door when I finally managed to drag myself down the stairs. After muttering a few choice words that don’t belong here, I noticed a small box at my feet, which I promptly picked up and examined. After determining that it wasn’t ticking, I noticed a bit of handwriting buried under a cake of dust. ‘Do not open until after Christmas,’ it read. Dejected, I slowly turned back around to return to bed with box in hand, counting the days left until I was allowed to open it. As I trudged back up the stairs, the box tilted, allowing more of the dust to spill to the floor, exposing the rest of the message: ’1958.’