(Pocket-lint) - Disney doesn't only make movies, it also makes robots, apparently.
The company has a Disney Research arm that tackles areas like visual computing, machine learning and data analytics, human computer interaction, and, of course, robots. It publishes its work and aims to "honor Walt Disney’s legacy" by deploying innovations on a global scale. Most recently, it presented a simple two-degree-of-freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch.
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The robot, called Stickman, is described as a human-scale acrobatic robot that can do a variety of somersaults. You see, human performers have developed acrobatic techniques over thousands of years by practicing gymnastic arts, and with robots becoming more mobile and autonomous, Disney Research wondered whether robots can now imitate humans and their ability to do impressive stunts.
So, it developed a robot that uses an "IMU and a laser range-finder" to estimate its state mid-flight and change its motion both on and off the pendulum. You can hear the team discuss the dynamics of this robot behavior in the video above, which shows Stickman swinging from a ceiling-mounted wire 19.6 feet above ground. It's able to tuck in at peak height and do a full backflip, essentially.
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Stickman is headless, but it measures 7-feet tall “to approximate the height of a human stunt performer with arms raised over his or her head", Disney Research said. You can learn more about this project and other Disney Research efforts from here.