Disney has a research department, don't you know, and it's doing things way more exciting than trying to make white gloves that stay whiter for longer and realistic wet noses -- it's messing about with impressive-looking robots.
Specifically, it's building a Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human-Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot, which, among its many baffling technological abilities, has bidirectional operation of every joint -- meaning it should be a bit more realistic in its motions.
Look, it's nice, it can play the xylophone and can be trusted in the vicinity of children:
It won't at all go rogue and do an Itchy and Scratchy Land special. It's not an autonomous burger serving device either, as its primary purpose is to mimic human actions, relaying data back to a controller through a VR camera system.
Disney explains that: "The operator is visually immersed in the robot’s physical workspace, and through the bilateral coupling of the low-impedance hydrostatic transmission, directly feels interaction forces between the robot and external environment."
Is Jimmy Mickey Mouse in disguise? All he really needs is a pair of ears and some functioning legs. Then again, maybe he'll just spend his days handling toxic materials in a laboratory behind an impervious barrier. Such is the reality of life. [Disney Research via Cnet]