Disney Research debuted Stickman at this year’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Disney Researchers Günter Niemeyer and Morgan Pope debuted Stickman a z-shaped robot that can perform acrobatics.
Human performers have developed impressive acrobatic techniques over thousands of years of practicing the gymnastic arts. At the same time, robots have started to become more mobile and autonomous, and can begin to imitate these stunts in dramatic and informative ways. The researched presented Stickman, a simple two degree of freedom robot that uses a gravity-driven pendulum launch and produces a variety of somersaulting stunts. The robot uses an inertia measurement unit and a laser range-finder to estimate its state mid-flight and actuates to change its motion both on and and off the pendulum.
It is unknown what application this robot will have at The Walt Disney Company, but it is easy to imagine its application in theme park shows and attractions. The Disney Research team will continue research and development and who knows what the future of Stickman may be.