Situated near several business units of The Walt Disney Company, Imagineering Research focuses primarily on the needs of Walt Disney Imagineering, the organization that designs and builds Disney theme parks, resorts, cruise ships, and other entertainment venues. One portion of the research agenda covers related entertainment technologies: robotics, mobile computing, sensing, and displays. The other addresses human-computer interaction (HCI), social psychology, and environmental science. The tens of millions of guests per year visiting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts generate rich and unique research problems and provide an appreciative audience for our solutions.
Our lab in Pittsburgh is co-located with Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon has one of the country’s top five graduate programs in computer science, and is particularly strong in robotics, computer vision, human-computer interaction (HCI), speech understanding, and machine learning. Our relationship with Carnegie Mellon provides opportunities for collaboration, as well as access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in robotics and motion capture. Our Pittsburgh lab also conducts research in radio and antennas, and has a focus in sports visualization. Pittsburgh researchers are currently executing projects inspired by ESPN, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and other business units of The Walt Disney Company.
Our lab in Zürich is perfectly placed for easy access to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH), whose formidable faculty in science and engineering includes 21 Nobel Laureates. With strong ties to the Computer Graphics lab at ETH, the Zürich lab is influencing video of the future (video manipulation, video coding, 3D, and perceptual studies), computational cinematography, human and facial animation, and capture technologies. Additional strengths include wireless networking and computational materials. In spite of distance, our Zürich researchers have frequent contact with The Walt Disney Company business units.
For many years, the Pixar Research Group has published world-class research, generated valuable intellectual property, and contributed directly to Pixar’s critically acclaimed movies and shorts. Once focused purely on computer graphics—several of Pixar’s researchers have earned Academy Awards®—Pixar has diversified into multi-touch and tangible user interfaces, computational cinematography, and robotics.
WDAS Research builds on a tradition that dates back more than 70 years to the creative vision of Walt Disney and the Nine Old Men. At the time, Disney introduced technological inventions such as the multiplane camera and Fantasound. Today, the research agenda of WDAS Research continues to support and enhance the creative vision of the artists who make the magic come alive on the big screen. With research in both 2D and 3D, WDAS addresses all areas of content creation, from modeling and drawing through animation and physical simulation to rendering and stereoscopy.