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Disneyland Ventures Into AI For Realistic Droids

By Justin Lee , Mar 17, 2017 05:10 AM EDT
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Disneyland is reportedly venturing into AI. This is according to Jon Snoddy of Walt Disney Imagineering who detailed two AI projects that the production team is working on. As per Snoddy, the team is working on a life-like Pascal, the chameleon from the movie Tangled and Jake, a new Star Wars droid.

As per CNET, who interviewed Snoddy at the SXSW Conference and Festivals in Austin, the Imagineers leader showed off some quick clips of Jake and Pascal that the team has tested in Disneyland. Pascal is apparently a miniature robot that can be held in one's hand. The chameleon AI is said to have been a test for how tiny the engineers can build a mechanism to operate the AI character with. Snoddy said that "that's what's good in AI," saying that that the artificial intelligence in Pascal can figure out when a person is talking to him so he can move along.

The Imagineers aim to use AI autonomy inside Pascal to give life to his mouth, skin and eyes. This will be in addition to the manual hand controls. Snoddy describes the character as "not just a character". He said that Pascal is a character and a performer, and fans are meeting "them both".

Jake on the other hand, is an R2D2-like robot that is fully autonomous. It wanders around like a pet dog. Snoddy describes Jake as a project that explores the extent that Disney can venture on when it comes to autonomy. In fact, Jake has already been brought into the wild last summer, when the Imagineers took the robot to the Star Wars Launch Bay in Disneyland. The Imagineers lead said that Jake got the adults' attention and interest. The kids on the other hand, of course, weren't as surprised since they already "knew" that droids are real.

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