Juggling Disney robot hopefully won't attack guests

Video showcases robots that react with theme park visitors


A video from last week is now circulating the Interweb (now that most of us chronicling such things are back from Thanksgiving) that shows Disney researchers creating animatronic robots that can throw and catch balls with humans.

Of course, the Interweb being full of people who fear the coming robopocalypse, this has everyone coming up with cute headlines and Westworld references. Me too.

The technology is pretty impressive. Using an "external camera system (ASUS Xtion PRO LIVE) to locate balls and a Kalman filter to predict ball destination and timing," the researchers ay that the robot's hand can be positioned to the predicted location of the thrown ball. The researchers say they have tested the robot with five adults, one child, and the juggling was tested with three skilled jugglers.

Hopefully the jugglers were using balls and not knives or flaming swords.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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