Advancement in Robotics

Disney Research Helps Beginners Print Walking Robots

Disney Research

Robots are quickly becoming more exciting and easier for everyone to build thanks to Disney Research labs.

This is because Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon University have been working on a new tool which allows you to 3D print a walking robot.

Markus Gross, vice president at Disney Research said: “Progress in rapid manufacturing technology is making it easier and easier to build customised robots, but designing a functioning robot remains a difficult challenge that requires an experienced engineer. Our new design system can bridge this gap and should be of great interest to technology enthusiasts and the maker community at large.”

How Does the Disney Robot Work?


With the new tool, the robot is simple to work. Users upload a description file that specifies an initial skeletal structure of the robot.

“Initial geometry is created from this information and a virtual, uni-axial motor is placed at each joint position,” the Disney designers say. “The user can freely edit the robot’s structure at all times by adding or removing motors, thus altering the morphology of the design, or by adjusting the position or orientation of the motors.”

With this tool you’re able to select different sizes, shapes and even the number of legs for your robot. This is all done using interactive editing tools which have been described as intuitive by researchers.

Although this all sounds pretty difficult, the software allows users to edit the robot’s structure, as well as being able to view the way design would affect robot’s behaviour. This means that even less experiences users are able to create a robot that can stand up and move.

A Different Robot For Everyone

Disney 3

In order to make robots which are not all the same, the user is even able to change the gait and footfall of the robot adding an interesting personal touch. Then the tool uses a dynamics model to generate these stable walking motions. And, compared to traditional methods of generating motion, this process takes only a few seconds.

“The fact is that it is both expensive and time-consuming to build a prototype – which underscores the importance of a design system such as ours, which produces a final design without the need for building multiple physical iterations”,  said Bernhard Thomaszewski, a research scientist at Disney Research. “Our ambition is to make the design of compelling robotic creatures as accessible and intuitive as possible.”

That premise is reported on in an article entitled “Interactive Design of 3D-Printable Robotic Creatures”, by researchers.

How do you feel about this technology? Are you excited by the developments in robots?