Theme park animatronics aren’t new. I mean, I’ve been watching dirty animatronic pirate feet dangle over my head in Pirates of the Carribbean since the 1980s. But the technology has vastly improved since then, and apparently it’s only going to get more…frighteningly realistic.
For example, the above video demonstrates Disney’s recent developments in the creation of lifelike audio-animatronics (er, I guess they’re called Autonomatronics now…bit harder to say).
“The goal of our work is…ultimately to create an animatronic face that closely resembles a given human subject.”
It’s a complicated process, not just as simple as scanning a human face and throwing it onto any old animatronic. They have to fabricate a synthetic soft tissue that mimics skin, and analyze the facial deformation that occurs when the “subject” makes facial expressions.
And the result is pretty lifelike.
It’s not perfect, of course, particularly the lip movement (or just the movement in general), but its texture certainly looks realistic. I can only imagine (in pure horror) what awaits us in the future.
Oh, and yeah. The folks over at Disney have their own mad scientist labs where they work on this stuff.