Stunt work is a very important job on movie sets, but it has its limits. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on which studio exec you talk to), directors aren't allowed to just shoot people out of cannons and tell them to strike a pose like Iron Man before splatting against Robert Downey Jr.'s trailer. But you know who doesn't have the same union protection? Robots.
Since the birth of all those creepy dolls that never stop singing "It's A Small World," Disney has been at the cutting edge of entertainment robotics. And despite messing up recently and creating one of the most unconvincing humans we've ever seen, the company is about to take a giant acrobatic leap forward in the field with the "Stuntronics" project.
Until staggeringly recently, robotic "acrobats" were nothing more than smart sticks with joints. But Stuntronics quickly evolved into highly sophisticated self-correcting aerial performers that, with the help of an "on-board accelerometer and gyroscope arrays supported by laser range finding," can twist, tumble, and dive as good as any human to ever slide down a Cirque du Soleil pole.
But no stunt performer starts their career in Marvel movies. With all these superheroes and Jedi masters now hero-ing it up in Disney parks, audiences are expecting more dynamism from their animatronics. So, appropriately, Stuntronics are set to be employed as stunt doubles not for people, but for other Disney animatronics, doing the leaping and falling and denting the actor robots are too fragile and valuable for. But who knows, maybe one day these stunt bots will be working side by side with actual human stunt performers, adding a new range of practical effects that could greatly improve the realism in action movies. Or maybe Disney will skip all that and just go full Westworld before Season 3 is even out.For more of Cedric's ramblings, do follow him on Twitter.
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