Improving the future of attractions and entertainment at Disney Parks is always at the forefront of Imagineers’ minds. As they look to develop new and better ways to tell stories and bring characters to life, Disney Researchers also end up creating new uses for technology. The most recent achievement: Kinetic Wire Characters.

What’s happening:

  • Hackaday recently reported on one of Disney’s latest developments for animated character figures.
  • Experimenting with structure and design, Disney’s team have created a system that predicts the best use of kinetic wires for character movement.
  • In a publication posted by Disney Research, researchers detail the methods they have used to add longevity to plastic figures with kinetic wires strategically bent to offer the best range of motion.
  • Disney Research’s publication says: “Elastically deforming wire structures are lightweight, durable, and can be bent within minutes using CNC bending machines. We present a computational technique for the design of kinetic wire characters, tailored for fabrication on consumer-grade hardware.”
  • The publication states their technique will “input a network of curves or a skeletal animation, then estimates a cable-driven, compliant wire structure which matches user-selected targets or keyframes as closely as possible.”
  • They are able to shape wires into spring-like formations and place them in discrete locations on the figure to provide the best range of motion and character behavior.