As part of The Walt Disney Company, Disney Research draws on a legacy of innovation and technology leadership that continues to this day. In 1923, Walt Disney sold his animated/live-action series the Alice Comedies, founded his eponymous company, and launched a succession of firsts: The first cartoon with fully synchronized sound (1928). The first full-color cartoon (1932). The first animated feature film (1937). The first modern theme park (1955).
The Walt Disney Company was also an early leader in entertainment technology development with inventions like the multiplane camera, Audio-Animatronics, Circle-Vision 360°, and Fantasound.
In 2006, The Walt Disney Company acquired Pixar Animation Studios, a move that brought a host of valuable creative and technology assets, including a strong culture of excellence in research. Pixar is a major generator and publisher of world-class research in computer graphics. Its scientists contribute directly to Pixar’s critically acclaimed films, consistently winning multiple technical Academy Awards®. The Pixar acquisition was a source of inspiration for the formation of Disney Research, and continues to influence the way we’re organized and run.
Disney Research was launched in 2008 as an informal network of research labs that collaborate closely with academic institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH). We’re able to combine the best of academia and industry: we work on a broad range of commercially important challenges, we view publication as a principal mechanism for quality control, we encourage engagement with the global research community, and our research has applications that are experienced by millions of people. We’re honoring Walt Disney’s legacy of innovation by researching novel technologies and deploying them on a global scale.
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