A Robot Baby Groot is Getting Prepped for Avengers Campus
Back in April of 2021, I shared a first look with you at a new robot animatronic that Disney was developing themed after Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Nearly two years later it looks as if the project has reached a stage of development where it is public-ready. According to a recent tweet from Scott Gustin and based on some intel from MiceChat, Disneyland is currently conducting play tests of Baby Groot.
You can check out the tweet below:
Disneyland Resort is conducting play tests of an animatronic Baby Groot, a Disneyland official confirmed. Select park guests are being invited to a short presentation.
The tech from Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development was first revealed as “Project Kiwi” in 2021. pic.twitter.com/bQbRzTmOQh
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) June 5, 2023
According to the tweet, this information has been corroborated by a Disneyland official. We know that select theme park guests are being invited to a sneak peek of the new Robot Baby Groot. What we know from a previous piece in TechCrunch is that the Baby Groot will be two and a half feet tall and will walk unassisted. It’s pretty remarkable and you can check out the video below:
To create this incredible bit of Disney tech, Principal Scott LaValley came to Disney Imagineering from Boston Dynamics. In his previous post, he developed a first version of a biped robot called Atlas. During that project, LaValley created a biped robot that is battery-powered and programmed to interact with park guests.
The Baby Groot showcased in the video took Imagineers three years to build. Since the original video was posted in 2021, it seems like two more years were used to fine-tune Groot.
According to the original Tech Crunch article, because Groot was so tiny, the team working on the project had to first create a skeleton to hold all the motors and actuators that Baby Groot would need. Then it was on to developing legs and a torso that would allow the robot to bounce, walk, and more!
During the original unveiling of Robot Baby Groot, battery life was posing a problem as it only allowed the robot to run for 45 minutes before needing to be recharged. The team also needed to fine-tune a kinetic counterbalance that would allow Baby Groot to move without falling over.
But that’s not all, Disney Imagineers had to patent items used to bring Groot to life. This includes gears that would move energy through joints allowing the different parts of the robot to share motors. In addition, special circuit boards would be created with flex cabling to fit into Groot’s tiny 2-foot frame.
We’re told that thanks to prototype software specially created for Baby Groot, the robot will be able to wow guests with natural-looking movements which might include everything from a simple shrug of the shoulders to dance moves!
Hopefully, Disney will reveal more details about the small group testing of the Baby Groot Robot that has been happening at Disney California Adventure in the days and weeks ahead. What we do know is that guests selected to be a part of the testing process are being invited to a special Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance Off where he reacts to Star-Lord.
Readers are encouraged to keep following along with us for more Disneyland news and updates.
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