Disney Invented the Coolest New Makeup Technology

In the future, your makeup is going to be lit, literally. Fast Company reports that Disney Research, the scientific-research arm of the Walt Disney Company, has discovered Makeup Lamps, a special light that can project the “illusion of makeup” onto a human face.

Over-the-air charging finally gets real

February 21st, 2017 – Wireless charging is a farce. We’ve basically traded in charging cables for custom-built surfaces that only work if we place our phones right on top of them.

You Can Stop Worrying, Disney Figured Out How to Make Perfect CG Sugar

December 8th, 2016 – So far 2016 has been a wild ride, but there’s one less thing to keep you awake at night, terrified about the future, now that Disney Research has finally found a way to render convincing computer-generated sugar that looks and moves just like the real thing. Phew!

Disney Research’s AI system knows what a car sounds like

November 16th, 2016 – A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sound is just as important to how we experience the world as how we see it — that’s why a team at Disney Research is working on a computer vision system that can not only recognize what an image is, but how it sounds, too.

An AI project can tell you when the cow goes “Moo”

November 16th, 2016 – A new project from Disney Research can recognize various objects in videos – cows, cars, very small rocks – and add appropriate sounds – “Mooo!”, “Vroom!”, a witch’s cackle – automatically.

Disney Just Invented a One-Legged Robot That Hops Like Tigger

October 6th, 2016 – In Disney’s continued quest to breath life into all of its cartoon characters, it might be going beyond a mere costume. Its research branch just revealed what appears to be the first attempt to make a robotic version of Tigger, Winnie the Pooh’s tiger pal, who’s best known for bouncing around on his tail.

Disney Research develops method to capture 3D facial performances with a single camera

July 20th, 2016 – Capturing an actor’s facial performance in a three-dimensional environment is key to believable animations in movies and video games. The process of accurately modeling a performer’s face — and their full range of expressions — is no easy task, however. But with a new method developed by Disney Research, it’s about to become much simpler.

Same object, different sound thanks to acoustic voxels

July 19th, 2016 – 3D-printed motorcycle earmuffs that suppress traffic and wind noise while amplifying car horns, and objects encoded with unique audio barcodes are just a couple of the devices that could be on the way, thanks to a new system designed by researchers at Columbia University, MIT and Disney Research that allows specific acoustic properties to be implanted into 3D-printed objects.

Deep learning enables software to recognise unseen events in YouTube videos

June 24th, 2016 – Using deep learning techniques, a group of researchers has trained a computer to recognise events in videos on YouTube — even the ones the software has never seen before like riding a horse, baking cookies or eating at a restaurant. Researchers from Disney Research and Shanghai’s Fudan University used both scene and object features from the video and enabled link between these visual elements and each type of event to be automatically determined by a machine-learning architecture known as neural network.

Smart Paper That Can React To Your Gestures

May 30th, 2016 – Researchers from the University of Washington along with Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University teamed to create a new kind of smart paper that can respond to gestures.

New Scanner Uniquely Identifies Gadgets Just From the Noise They Emit

May 5th, 2016 – Without using them, one iPhone or laptop is indistinguishable from another of the same model—to the human eye, at least. A team of researchers, though, has developed a tool that can tell gadgets apart based just on the electromagnetic noise they create.

Inside the Incredible Visual Effects of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

January 22nd, 2016 – Mike Seymour goes behind the visual effects that earned “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” an Oscar nod. See how Industrial Light & Magic crafted complex action sequences, detailed environments, and realistic characters with the help of advanced motion-capture technology and performances from actors like Lupita Nyong’o.



Disney’s New Rolling Robot Climbs Walls Like a Gecko

December 29th, 2015 – Not even walls can stop Disney’s and ETH Zurich’s new four-wheeled robot called VertiGo that can quickly transition from rolling on the ground to climbing obstacles like a gecko—and without those sticky feet.

5 Crazy New Ideas Out Of Disney Research

August 7th, 2015 – Leading up to this year’s Siggraph conference—the biggest event of the year in computer graphics and experimental UI—Disney Research comes with a collection of new papers that delve into everything from new methods of 3-D printing action figures to better ways for us to render CGI eyelids.

Plush Prints

April 21st, 2015 – DAILY PLANET Digit@l – What does the future hold for tech? Lucas is here to let you know!

Disney Research System Predicts Soccer Goals

March 13th, 2015 – Last weekend, Brazilian superstar, Kaká, scored in the final minute of hisMajor League Soccer debut for Orlando City Soccer Club. It was his fifth shot at goal, the second on target. Carlos Rivas, Orlando’s Colombian striker, also had five shots, but didn’t score. The match, against New York City FC, ended 1-1.

Disney wants to help developers make games more interactive

February 28th 2015 – Many RPGs have more than one ending, but even then you still have limited ways to control the story or to interact with the characters. Disney Research, however, wants to make realinteractive games — ones where your actions can affect how it progresses and ends — so it has created a platform that can help developers do so more easily than if they use traditional tools.

The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Video

February 2015 – For its automatic editing technology that’s almost as good as a human. During nearly any event, be it a friend’s birthday party or a Beyoncé concert, our first instinct is to lift our phones out in front of us and press “record.”

Building a Better Digital Eye

February 17, 2015 – Last November, in the “Clueless Gamer” segment of his late-night talk show, Conan O’Brien played a few levels of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Disney Invents an Adorable Robot for Making Giant Sand Drawings

January 20, 2015 – The BeachBot does have some limitations. Reflective poles must be placed on the beach by humans to define the canvas the robot draws on. Fine motor controls don’t mix well with sand and salty surf, so in addition to building rubberized seals into the design to protect the sensitive internal workings from the elements, extra care is required in maintenance.

How Disney Is Perfecting Animated Eyeballs

December 12, 2014 – Creating lifelike animated characters is hard. The bounce of the hair, the twitch of the cheek. Disney and its competitors have been continuously working to build more and more realistic animations. They were praised for how lifelike Merida’s hair was in Brave, and how believable Finding Nemo’s reef was (aside from the talking fish). Next, they might be lauded for how personable Woody’s eyes are in Toy Story 4. No more ovals with dots in the middle in this studio.

Inspired Robotics

November 6, 2014 – When Director Don Hall saw a robot arm made of balloons at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute several years ago, he knew instantly that Baymax, a pivotal character in a Disney animated feature, also would be an inflatable robot.

Turtle Talk

August 1, 2014 – …Prior to the on-set motion capture, the team had the actors perform expressions while being scanned with Disney Research’s Medusa system. The Muse team decomposed those scans into components within Fez, ILM’s facial animation system that animators used to re-create the expressions.

Disney is working on more natural moving robots

October 9, 2014 – Disney may not have much of a stake in robots at the industrial scale, but the company sure employs plenty of animatronics at its parks and films. So it only makes sense that it would want to build the most natural moving robots it can and encourage you to suspend your disbelief.

Disney’s Air-Powered Robots Will Make For a Lively Hall of Presidents

October 9, 2014 – Decades ago Disney’s audio-animatronic technology revolutionized the animated characters that helped bring the company’s theme park rides to life. But just imagine how eerily lifelike those Caribbean pirates or US presidents will be when the company’s latest breakthrough—motor-less, servo-less, but remarkably responsive air-powered robots—are implemented in Disney’s parks.

Beautiful Fluid Actuators from Disney Research Make Soft, Safe Robot Arms

October 9, 2014 – Roboticists have long been trying to build robot arms that are light, nimble, and safe to operate near people. Some designs rely on compliant actuators, artificial muscles, or sensors and software to keep the arms from smashing into things that they’re not supposed to. The challenge, however, is that most robot arms are stuffed full of electric motors and gears, and these are relatively big and heavy, adding to the size and weight of the arms.

Bob Iger to Remain Disney Chief through 2018

October 2, 2014 – “Bob Iger is the architect of Disney’s current success, with a proven history of delivering record financial results for the company quarter after quarter and year after year,” said Orin C. Smith, independent lead director of the Disney board.

Disney Research Unveils an Automated Video Editor With Human Taste

August 11, 2014 – With increasingly innovative video cameras now a nearly ever-present part of every facet of our lives, the tools to help us better utilize the resulting footage are gradually evolving, too. Keying in on this trend of social cameras, that is, wearable cameras like the GoPro, Disney Research has devised an ingenious tool that can automatically edit the final footage together with an intuitive, human-style editing approach.

Defensive role swaps prove predictive of 3-point success

February 27, 2014 – Everyone knows a basketball player is more likely to miss a three-point shot if a defender is in his face, but a new automated method for analyzing team formations, created by Disney Research Pittsburgh, shows how players get open for a shot: via defensive role swaps.

In Pittsburgh, science gets playful — Disney Research is investigating ways to enhance the physical world with interactive technology.

December 9, 2013 – Imagine: sharing a secret with a friend by touching your finger to her ear; rubbing a book’s page to reveal a hidden message; feeling the texture of a mountain range on a flat computer screen; or sensing the fluttering of a digital butterfly’s wings against your skin.
These fancies have been made into realities at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, one of six labs in a network. “Science at Play” is the network’s tagline, and the innovative technologies coming out of Pittsburgh’s lab are playful.

E-book Reader: Batteries Not Required

E-book readers are gaining popularity thanks to their capacity and potential for interactivity. Some people still prefer paper books for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they don’t require power. Engineers at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University hope that they can merge the best of both technologies with their energy harvesting “Paper Generators.”

Disney Research Unveils 3D Texture Tactile Touchscreen Technology

November 11, 2013 – The touchscreen has become a vital part of all of our lives, and we keep finding new ways to utilize its easy use. But, there is one thing that the touchscreens are not capable of yet, and that is to present us with realistic representation of the textures that things have in the real world. Disney Research has endeavored into this mystical realm to see if they may solve this quite important part of how we experience things, and the result is a 3D texture tactile touchscreen.

‘Feel’ objects in thin air: The future of touch technology

October 29, 2013 – What will the future of touch look like? With haptic technology, which could be described as the science of touch, users have a physical experience, making the technology more interactive. This will revolutionize the gaming experience but also be useful in medicine and every-day life. How about plants that can interpret how you touch them?

How Users Might Feel 3D Objects on Future iPads

October 15, 2013 – Does feeling the surface friction of a virtual object rendered on an iPad screen sound like science fiction? Disney Research has already made the technology a reality, with a project dubbed “Tactile Rendering of 3D Features on Touch Surfaces.”

Disney’s Software Could Let You 3-D Print Your Own Mechanical Toys

September 16, 2013 – It might be hard to appreciate in the 21st century, but before interactive apps, before CGI, and before cinema, a lot of what we’d call “animated entertainment” consisted of little hand-cranked robots. These toys, called automata, were mechanical wonders whose appeal rested on novelty: If you turn the crank, what will this lifeless hunk of wood do? …The software team, led by Stelian Coros and Bernhard Thomaszewski in Disney Research’s Zurich lab, sought to create a way to make the design and fabrication of automata as easy as dorking around with iMovie–or maybe Final Cut Pro.

It appears big data can make us better artists, too

July 22, 2013 – Big data isn’t just about the size of the data set: The discovery of new data sources is also important. There’s web data, sensor data, location data and, now, there’s artistic data. No, not data about the properties of the world’s masterpieces, but data about the actual strokes we use while were drawing.

Disney Research creates techniques for high quality, high resolution stereo panoramas

June 21, 2013 – Stereoscopic panoramas promise an inviting, immersive experience for viewers but, at high resolutions, distortions can develop that make viewing unpleasant or even intolerable. A team at Disney Research Zurich has found methods to correct these problems, yielding high-quality panoramas at megapixel resolutions.
The researchers will present findings related to their so-called Megastereo project at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), June 25-27, in Portland, Oregon.

Compositing will never be the same: the latest from Disney Research

May 31, 2013 – The folks at Dis­ney Research are push­ing the envel­ope again. This latest demon­stra­tion shows of what they call “Seam-based Com­pos­it­ing” and it’s a real mind-blower. If Adobe added this to After Effects I might con­sider get­ting the CC-Version after all.

Disney Research Pittsburgh scientists are aiming for human-like robots

May 28, 2013 – Many viewers of the 1962 animated television series “The Jetsons” scoffed at the idea of robots folding clothes or tending to the kitchen, imagining that this type of futuristic technology would not be available for hundreds of years. But handing coats, shoes or packages to a robot could soon become customary, if Disney Research Pittsburgh’s latest development is introduced to the workplace or the home.

Disney researchers develop fast, economical method for high-definition video compositing

May 20, 2013 – Video compositing to create special effects, replace backgrounds or combine multiple takes of an actor’s performance is an integral, but highly labor-intensive, part of modern film making. Researchers at Disney Research, Zürich, however, have found an innovative way to create these composite videos that is simple, fast, and easy to use.

Vybe gaming pad packs Disney Research’s Surround Haptics into a $99 force feedback accessory

December 17, 2012 – We thought it’d take years to see Surround Haptics make its way affordably into future living rooms. After all, it was only at last year’s SIGGRAPH that Disney Research demoed the tech in a $5,000 prototype chair. But with the impending release of The Avengers-branded Vybe gaming pad, it’s clear the family-friendly conglomerate found a way to fast-track its patent-pending sensory solution as an all-purpose peripheral.

Get Ready to Gush Over These 3D Printed Lightbulbs from Disney Research

October 3, 2012 – 3D printing clearly has a ton of potential when it comes to revolutionizing home manufacturing for both creators and consumers, but there’s also no denying that we’re still a ways from mainstream penetration — where the average person is able to print everything from dinnerware to working electronic devices on the fly…
Luckily for us, today’s experiments gradually take us closer to future practicality and provide a glimpse at what’s coming. This is the case with Disney Research and its new experiments with printed optics.

Disney’s Touche Could Be the Next Big Thing

May 14, 2012 – You may have heard that The Avengers did wonders for Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) image after the John Carter flop in March. The box-office hit successfully boosted share price and compelled several analysts, including Barclays Capital, to raise the target price from $44 to $48. — In fact, when the market took a downturn last week, Disney was one of five or six Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks to close higher on Tuesday and Wednesday, even hitting an all-time high. Impressive.
But what else does Disney have up its sleeve?
How about Touche, the futuristic “swept frequency capacitive sensing” technology capable of processing more information than current touch sensors?

Nur noch scharfe Fotos

May 10, 2012 – (in German) Bis heute galt beim Fotografieren das Prinzip: Erst scharfstellen, dann abdrücken. Eine neuartige Lichtfeldkamera revolutioniert diesen Ablauf. Jetzt heisst es: Abdrücken und dann scharfstellen. Was ist dran an dieser Technologie? Was kann diese Kamera? «Einstein»-Moderator Tobias Müller macht den Test.

Disney bringing touch controls to body parts, water, more

May 7, 2012 – Next-gen touch sensor technology will allow people to control devices by touching parts of their body, according to Disney. The team that bought us Mickey Mouse has demonstrated a new technology that can sense hand gestures on the human body, everyday objects and even liquids.

Disney may be on to something: New technology could bring objects to life

May 7, 2012 – A team of engineers from the U.S. and Japan, including two engineers from Disney Research, has pioneered a technology that could forever change the ways in which humans and inanimate objects interact by embedding electrodes in everyday devices. (This piece originally appeared on the WaPo Labs Blog on May 7.WaPo Labs is the digital team at the Washington Post Company focused on innovation and experimenting with emerging technologies.)

Disney Research’s Touché system detects your touch on most things, even water

May 7, 2012 – Disney Research has announced some new touch interface technology that add extra gesture functionality to existing touchscreens and more exotic items like doorknobs and even the water’s surface. Touché works by sensing capacitive signals across a range of frequencies — whereas typical systems only pick up signal at a single frequency.

Disney Researchers Can Turn Almost Any Object Into Multi-Touch Gesture-Recognizing Interface:

May 7, 2012 – The important thing to understand is that capacitive touch technology can be used with almost any object or surface.

…Touché accurately and quickly detects gestures on objects as disparate as a doorknob, table, and water in a fish tank. In one very exciting example, the video postulates a future where you interact with your smartphone (or other wearable/implanted computer) by performing touch gestures on your own body.

Disney Research’s Touché takes touch interfaces to the next level

May 7, 2012 – Have you ever wanted to control devices by touching everyday objects and even parts of your body? Sure you have! And a team at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University is working on the technology to make it possible. Dubbed “Touché”, the technique uses something called ‘Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing’ that will enable real-world objects like chairs or doorknobs to not only detect a touch event, but also recognize what they are being touched by and how they are being touched.

Disney’s New “Touché” Technology Turns The World into a Touchscreen

It looks like Disney has a little magic up its sleeve that goes beyond a child’s smile – the project it unveiled today could turn the entire world into a touchscreen. Pittsburgh-based Disney Research recently demonstrated its new “Touche” technology that can sense hand gestures on the human body and everyday objects. It could effectively making all extant user interfaces obsolete, turning the human body into the ultimate remote.

Disney researchers put gesture recognition in door knobs, chairs, fish tanks

Imagine a door that locks when you pinch the knob. Or a smartphone that can be silenced by a hand gesture. Or a chair that adjusts room lighting when you recline into it. A team of researchers at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have come up with a system called Touché, which uses the same capacitive technology as a smartphone’s touchscreen to imbue everyday objects with body and gesture recognition.

Touché brings touch control to everyday things

May 4, 2012 – Forget smartphones or tablets – the future of touch control could be doorknobs, furniture or even your own body. Researchers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have created Touché, a system that can detect a variety of touch gestures on everyday objects.

Touche Teaches Objects to Sense Your Touch

May 4, 2012 – A team of researchers from Disney and Carnegie Mellon University have collaborated and come up with an interesting bit of technology that might be useful for many of us in the future. The technology uses what is called Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing and apparently will allow nearly any object to sense multiple points of contact.

New technology delivers smarter touchscreens

May 4, 2012 – Intelligent doorknobs and gesture-controlled smartphones could be on the way, thanks to a new sensing technique developed by Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University.

Touché technology detects how you touch

May 4, 2012 – Touch sensitive displays have changed the way we interact with electronic devices everyday, evolving from single to multi-touch displays that can recognize multiple contacts. Now researchers at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University have developed a touch sensitive technology called Touché that not only detects if and where someone is touching it, but how they are touching it.

Touché Teaches Objects to Sense Your Touch

May 3, 2012 – Researchers at Disney and Carnegie Mellon University have created an interesting new technology using Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing that allows nearly any object to sense multiple points of contact on its complex service. This would allow, for example, doorknobs to understand when to lock and unlock based on your finger position and environmental controls based on the user’s current body position. Lying down? The lights go out. Feet on the floor? The lights go up.

‘Smart Doorknobs’ and Gesture-Controlled Smartphones: Revolutionary Technology Enables Objects to Know Your Touch

May 3, 2012 – A doorknob that knows whether to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped, a smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips and a chair that adjusts room lighting based on recognizing if a user is reclining or leaning forward are among the many possible applications of Touché, a new sensing technique developed by a team at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

Revolutionary Technology Enables Objects To Know How They Are Being Touched

May 3, 2012 – A doorknob that knows whether to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped, a smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips and a chair that adjusts room lighting based on recognizing if a user is reclining or leaning forward are among the many possible applications of Touché, a new sensing technique developed by a team at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.


May 3, 2012 – A doorknob that knows to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped. A smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips. A chair that adjusts room lighting. They are among the many possible applications of Touché, a new sensing technique developed by a team at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

The Future of Digital is Tangible: Lessons From FITC 2012

May 3, 2012 – In our latest event roundup, Spafax’s Carly Gatto reports from FITC 2012, a digital conference that ended up being all about engaging with the physical world… In his presentation “The Thing is Your Friend: Making the World Alive One Bit At A Time,” Disney research scientist Ivan Poupyrev said that it takes 10 years from the time a technology is invented to the time it is put on the market. In other words, the future is being created as we speak.

Improving animation: Details of facial expressions are key

March 5, 2012 – Robotics Institute graduate student Laura Trutoiu helps animators make facial movements seem more real. Laura is a former Disney Research, Pittsburgh Lab Associate, and a current collaborator with Senior Research Scientist, Iain Matthews.

Disney Research Pittsburgh engages with the Haptics Research Community

February 20-22, 2012 – Ali Israr, post-doctoral researcher at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, attended the TEI 2012 conference to highlight Disney Research’s work in the area of haptics. For this conference, Ali co-organized a special Studio entitled “Designing Haptics”. The Studio’s aim was to develop a greater understanding and sensitivity to the emerging field of Haptics.

Cool Technology from Disney Research: Side by Side Projector

January 29, 2012 – The kinds of accessories available for smartphones are becoming increasingly impressive. While a nifty case or speaker dock used to be impressive, tech researchers are beginning to produce devices that enhance the smartphone experience for the young and old alike. The tech gurus at Disney Research, Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University recently released announced the development of a side by side projector that allows users to play interactive games being projected onto a wall. It’s the overhead projector of the future.

Disney R&D Create Real-Time Tool to Improve 3D Perception

December 6, 2011 – While the business model for 3D television and gaming is still being established, research in lab centres around the globe are tackling the issues inherent in fooling the brain into ‘seeing’ a 3D image.

Disney SideBySide Interactive Projection – An Exclusive Follow Up

November 1, 2011 – Recently, we published an article discussing some exciting work by Disney Research… We had a chance to gain additional insight into the SideBySide program. Karl D.D. Willis, Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and a lab associate at Disney Research, was kind enough to spend some time answering some questions for us.

Disney’s SideBySide

October 29, 2011 – Researchers at Disney Research (Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania ), present SideBySide, a stunning system designed for ad-hoc multi-user interaction with handheld projectors.

Disney and Carnegie partner for interactive imaging

October 21, 2011 – Engineers at Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University (both of Pittsburgh, PA, USA) have developed a system called SideBySide that enables animated images from two separate handheld projectors to interact with each other on the same surface.

SideBySide – an interactive shared projector research by Disney

October 21, 2011 – Disney Research unveiled a new project called SideBySide – an interactive projected system that allows multple people to play and work together. Projected images by more than one device can become aware of each other and respond to other projections.

SideBySide: Interacting handheld projectors

October 18, 2011 – What’s cooler than a pair of handheld projectors? A pair of handheld projectors that interact with each other. SideBySide is a prototype handheld projector system from Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University. Aim two of the devices at adjacent spots on a surface, and the projected images react to one another.

Disney Research SideBySide Pico Projectors Interacts with Images (Video)

October 18, 2011 – I think this is something worth mentioning. Disney Research has innovated the use of Pico projectors. These Pico projectors are no longer just projecting images. They actually interact with the images. Using infrared camera and markers, images become interactive once they are near each other. Apart from the games, some real life application like file transfer and etc can be made possible.

Handheld projectors offer new opportunities to gaming fanatics

October 18, 2011 – Video gamers are certainly going to have a completely rejuvenated gaming experience as the next generation of games will probably do away with baffling choice of screens available and switch to handheld projectors instead. Screens like HD, 3D, touch and more, the handheld projectors will now replace the screen with a wall. ‘SideBySide’ is one such gaming system exemplifying this technique.

SideBySide makes tiny projectors fun again

October 17, 2011 – Kids these days just don’t get thrilled by tiny projectors the way they used to. Disney Research is hoping to address the problem with its new SideBySide prototype, a pico projector that interacts with images projected nearby. The device outputs both visible and infrared light, while a built-in sensor detects the latter, allowing it to react to the image.

Handheld projector lets you play anywhere with friends

October 17, 2011 – There are a bewildering choice of screens available to modern video gamers, what with HD, 3D, touch and more. But perhaps the next generation of games will do away with all of that and replace your display with a humble wall. Karl Willis and colleagues at the Disney Research labs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have come up with a multiplayer gaming system called SideBySide that uses handheld projectors to let you play on any nearby surface.

Handheld projector looks at portable gaming next

October 17, 2011 – We’ve seen our fair share of pico projectors that work decently enough for what they were created to do, but somehow they never really took off and entered mainstream consciousness since it never had a “killer app” or a “killer purpose” apart from being a novelty. Hopefully this handheld projector system that was developed by Karl Willis and colleagues at the Disney Research labs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will fare differently.

SideBySide Uses Handheld Projectors for Multiplayer Games

October 17, 2011 – The project is called SideBySide, and comes from researchers Ivan Poupyrev and Karl D.D. Willis. It combines a camera with a projector so that the two on-screen (or on-wall) images can actually interact with each other. Each unit consists of a modified DLP projector which outputs a single color of visible light and also an invisible infrared image. The IR image is detected by the camera of the second device, letting it know what the other device is up to, and where.

Disney Research Developing Unique Content for Multi-user Pico Projection

October 14, 2011 – Current pico projectors are designed for allowing one person to share content with a few. Disney Research is looking to shift this paradigm – DRAMATICALLY. In this new paper, the authors describe several arrangements that allow for multiple users to use pico projectors to create an interactive gaming experience. They call this project SideBySide.

Disney Runs a Network of Global Research Labs

October 6, 2011 – This is one of the most fascinating stories I’ve encountered in a while. For the past three years, Disney has been running a network of research labs in Zurich, Pittsburgh and Boston under the banner of Disney Research. The locations were chosen so that they could attract the brightest scientists from top institutions like the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard and MIT. The facilities operate in addition to the ongoing research being done at Pixar, Disney Feature Animation and Imagineering. There are roughly 200 total people working in Disney Research including 50 senior research scientists.

Disney’s genius tech talent united and publishing

September 27, 2011 – Disney is the largest entertainment company in the world, with studios, TV networks (ABC), sports cable channels (ESPN), theme parks, animation and live action film businesses, theater and even cruise ship interests. Not surprisingly, Disney has a huge research and development commitment. Since 2008, its worldwide R&D team has been unified and, in part due to the influence of its acquisition of Pixar, this unified R&D team is open and publishing. In fact, at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver this year and in Hong Kong at SIGGRAPH Asia, Disney R&D, under the banner of Disney Research Zurich, is one of the most prolific research contributors in the industry.

Base-jumping robot throws itself off buildings

September 8, 2011 – Adrenalin junkies, step aside: a new base-jumping robot can climb up buildings before deploying a paraglider to fly back down to earth. It is also equipped with an on-board video camera to film the jump. The robot – named Paraswift – is a collaboration between Disney Research and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

CMU teams with Disney to refine human-like Animation

September 6, 2011 – Two research teams from Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh are busy developing computer techniques that quickly produce realistic animated facial expressions and body motions– a real challenge given the myriad capabilities of the face’s 43 muscles, the complexity of the human body and our ability to perceive subtle changes in human motion.

TeslaTouch wins Best Demo award at World Haptics 2011

July 1, 2011 – Congratulations to the TeslaTouch team for winning the Best Demo award at World Haptics 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Receiving this recognition at World Haptics is an endorsement and a seal of approval of international haptics community.

Disney Ups the Ante in Hand-Held Gaming Technology

June 23, 2011 – Market research predicts that there will be as many as 39 million hand-held devices with embedded projectors on the market by 2014. Wouldn’t it be a better world if these pocket-size projectors were used for something other than PowerPoint presentations? The folks at Disney Research at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh think so.

Virtual car race lets you feel the swerve

June 10, 2011 – Imagine a virtual car race where you can feel the swerve as you change direction. Now you can experience this sensation thanks to a haptic chair developed by Ivan Poupyrev and his team from Disney Research Pittsburgh. In the video above, see how a regular chair was kitted up with soft pads filled with a grid of actuators, to create tactile feedback that syncs up with the visuals and sound in the racing game.

MicroVision Delivers Unmatched Gaming Experience for Apple Device Users

June 7, 2011 – LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This week at the E3 Expo, MicroVision, Inc. (NASDAQ: MVIS) is inviting attendees to visit its booth #546 in the South Hall to experience how mobile gaming can offer a much larger, more exhilarating experience when combined with PicoP® in-motion laser display technology. MicroVision is showcasing several prototype devices, along with its “Made for iPod, iPhone, and iPad” SHOWWX+™ laser pico projector, that enable game play on any surface at up to nine feet in diagonal image size. Unlike competitive technologies, MicroVision’s laser display technology produces images that are always in focus with no color breakup even in constant motion and on uneven display surfaces—two critical criteria for mobile gaming applications.

CMU group works on movies that reach out and touch you

June 8, 2011 – Sitting in a movie theater watching 3-D superheroes leap off the screen and soar overhead, it’s hard to imagine what direction the next level of media enhancement could take. Maybe viewers feeling wind whipping their hair as the hero flies by or the heat of his laser-beamed eyes warming their cheeks? What if an audience could feel the moisture of a tear as it streams down a heroine’s face, followed by a gentle brush of hand wiping it away?

Disney Researches Force Feedback on Your Spine

May 31, 2011 – Sometimes I don’t think games are immersive enough. I’ll pull some ridiculous maneuver in Dirt 3, and all I get is a little controller shake. Pffh. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this, because, according to New Scientist, the engineers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh are working a “Tactile Brush” that can mimic motion across your back.

Disney Tactile Brush Seat to Add Realism to Games and Movies

May 28, 2011 – I like a lot of realism in my games – and movies to a point. I would love to have a chair that allows me to feel the forces exerted on the body during a real car race for instance. I would not want to have the feeling of some ghoul touching me in a scary movie though. I used to routinely scare myself back when the last version of Doom came out just from things jumping out, if it jumped out on screen and touched me I would probably die.

Illusions to send shivers down a gamer’s spine

May 25, 2011 – One of the illusions the team employs is called apparent tactile motion. If two vibrating objects are placed close together on skin in quick succession, people often experience this as a single vibration moving between the two points of contact. In a related illusion, known as a phantom tactile sensation, a pair of stationary vibrations is sensed as a single stimulus placed in between the two.

Disney opening new Cambridge research lab next month

May 17, 2011 – The Mouse is coming back to Cambridge. The Walt Disney Company’s research division, led by the former Bostonian Joe Marks, is planning to open a small lab in the American Twine Building next month. That’s exactly 11 years after Disney shuttered its last lab in East Cambridge, which had mainly developed new technologies for the Disney theme parks as part of the company’s famed Imagineering team.


May 8, 2011 – The MotionBeam is a project by Disney Research that explores the use of handheld projectors to interact and control projected characters. Similarly to the project by AirCord ‘Mobile Runner’ the project explores physical movement of the projection device, much like a motion controller, how it may be used to guide and interact with the virtual/projected characters and interact with physical environment.

Joshua Griffin to give keynote talk at IEEE RFID 2011 conference

April 12, 2011 – Dynamic speakers, with links to both university and industry sectors, were highlights of the IEEE RFID 2011 program, April 12-14, 2011, in Orlando, FL. – Joshua Griffin (Disney Research, Pittsburgh) gave a keynote talk entitled “RF Tags for Entertainment”.

CGI tricks: Shining light through a virtual forest

February 3, 2011 – Ominous-looking beams of light often seen shining down in a forest or through church windows – are tricky for animators to reproduce. In addition to oddly-shaped obstructions, like a canopy of leaves, they also have to deal with dust or moisture that scatter light rays to create their foggy appearance. But now a new technique developed by Ilya Baran and a team from MIT and Disney Research Zurich is making the process a lot easier.

Famous faces to teach at Trinity

January 25, 2011 – Trinity has appointed a number of world renowned writers, actors, directors, composers and creative technologists among others to lead its dynamic new initiative in the Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture. Among the appointments are composer Bill Whelan, most famous for Riverdance; award winning playwright Michael West; famous author of the Discworld series Terry Pratchett and Disney Research Director, Jessica Hodgins. They will be giving masterclasses to Trinity students and undertaking collaborative research as part of their adjunct professorships and lectureships over the next three years.

Touch Screens That Touch Back: Feeling in the Future

December 29, 2010 – In this digital age, our fingers have learned to love touch screens. They provide an easy, intuitive way to navigate our devices to make them do our bidding. But so far, our fingers haven’t felt any love in return. All glass screens feel the same — they take, but as far as the sensory experience goes, they don’t give back.

Disney Research Lab Zurich Opens

May 11, 2010 – Having recently received another Academy Award, this time for best animated feature with Up, and only weeks before the long-awaited release of Toy Story 3, (Ed) Catmull came to Switzerland to officially open the Disney Research lab in Zurich at ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Disney Research at 2012 SIGGRAPH Conference

August 5-9, 2012 – Across the Disney Research family, which includes Disney Research Pittsburgh, Disney Research Zurich, Pixar Animation Studios Research Group, and Walt Disney Animation Studios Research Group, we had an excellent showing at the 2012 ACM SIGGRAPH conference. This year’s conference was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, August 5-9, 2012, where the Disney Research team members presented a combined total of twenty-nine papers, presentations, talks, and courses.

Tactile Tech Meets The Avengers

November 26, 2012 – Comfort Research and Marvel Entertainment introduce the Avengers-licensed Vybe Haptic Gaming Pad – the “Vybe,” a gaming pad that immerses the user in games, movies and music like never before by featuring an innovative technology that is content-driven to deliver a rich, dynamically-changing variety of tactile vibrating sensations.

Turning Your Body Into a Touchscreen

May 7, 2012 – Researchers from the Disney Research Lab and Carnegie Mellon University have released findings around gesture technology that could turn body parts and ordinary household surfaces such as door knobs and bathwater into interactive mediums similar to tablet screens. The new system, known as Touché, will be presented at a conference in Austin, Texas on Monday, May 7. (Source: Bloomberg)

Revolutionary Technology – Disney’s Touché

May 7, 2012 – There is an unending battle online over which theme parks have the best tech. Universal’s Harry Potter and Transformers expansions have set the bar high. Disney’s Xpass, NextGen, Carsland and Fantasyland incorporate vast amounts of new tech too. But the problem is comparing apples and oranges. Both company’s approaches to technology innovations are different with different goals. However, Disney has just released info on its new technology Touché, which will not only change the face of the theme park industry, it may change the world, leaving many, many companies in the dust.

Making waves with Touché

May 7, 2012 – In 2008, the Walt Disney Company established an R&D unit called Disney Research. This effort was aimed at unlocking innovations and technology advances through an “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)”. Three researchers working with Disney Research recently introduced Touché a technology that enables Gesture Recognition by using capacitive sensing.

Revolutionary technology enables objects to know how they are being touched (w/video)

May 7, 2012 – A doorknob that knows whether to lock or unlock based on how it is grasped, a smartphone that silences itself if the user holds a finger to her lips and a chair that adjusts room lighting based on recognizing if a user is reclining or leaning forward are among the many possible applications of Touché, a new sensing technique developed by a team at Disney Research, Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

New interactive gaming combines projector and motion sensor

May 12, 2011 – Disney’s research arm has developed a new form of interactive gaming using a pico projector and motion sensor to control cartoon characters beamed onto walls. MotionBeam consists of a handheld pico projector, an iPod touch and motion sensor unit, including an infra-red camera that can detect objects to incorporate into the game.