Walt Disney Imagineers has created a robotic form of famous Guardians of the Galaxy’s tree-like being “Groot” as a part of the newest industry-changing technology codenamed as “Project Kiwi”. As reported by Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch, the robotic form of the famous little MCU character is around two and a half feet tall and is a free walking robot. It’s been under development for the last three years.
Panzarino who visited the Walt Disney Imagineering in California, says that “the gait is smooth, and his arms can swing in a more life-like manner. Project Kiwi — a small-scale, free-roaming robotic actor — the first of its kind for Disney and a real robotics milestone.”
As said earlier despite being attached in one place like the animatronics we’re used to seeing in the parks, this “Groot-flavored,” robot is only attached by a thin cable used for programming and can walk around freely!.
According to TechCrunch, the goal of “Project Kiwi” has been to develop a biped battery-powered robot that could walk freely on its own and interact with guests in the park.” The Imagineer’s are currently working to figure out how to bring “the smaller characters to life in their actual scale in authentic ways.”
This project is still in progress, and there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done in the way that Kiwi works and interacts with people. So people shouldn’t expect to “see this in the wild any time soon.”
For the time, you can watch a full video of robot Groot in action down below!
As you can see in the above demonstration video, Groot is currently operating with “a safety tether and a control cable for live programming, but nothing on the rig itself needed for support. It is a free-roaming robot with a battery that lasts about 45 minutes (for now).”
The robot looks incredibly impressive already, but a new lighter and more efficient version of the robot’s skeleton is already under development. The team is working to increase the stability and adding a sensory package that will allow it to recognize people and their faces.
With that being said we hope that Groot and Project Kiwi are going to be the next step in making the free-roaming characters a more permanent feature of Disney Parks. You can read more about this at TechCrunch.