Disney Creates 3D Scanning Process to Improve Animatronic Heads
The process starts by scanning 3D facial expressions from a human subject. Then, a novel optimization scheme determines the shape of the synthetic skin as well as control parameters for the robotic head that provide the best match to the human subject.
This processing increases the realism of the resulting character, resulting in an animatronic face that closely resembles the human subject. “With our method, we can simply create a robotic clone of a real person,” said Dr. Bernd Bickel, researcher at Disney Research, Zürich.
“The custom digitally designed skin can be fabricated using injection molding and modern rapid prototyping technology. We 3D print a mold and use elastic silicon with properties similar to human skin as base material… Physical face cloning enables us to create personalized animatronic figures based on real individuals with a level of fidelity and realism never before possible.”
When I started Thingiverse, I knew that I wanted the classic sculptures of the world to be in the universal library of things, but I imagined that someone would have to pull off the ultimate heist to make that happen. Instead of having to steal the art, the Met shares the future vision of MakerBot where the greatest artworks of the world are accessible to everyone and they’ve invited us in to make history and share the art with the world.
The project, which is now ongoing, led to the Capture Your Town initiative which encourages makers to wander the streets of their cities, 3D scanning cool stuff willy-nilly.
I find this whole system – a sort of guerrilla curation – fascinating and amazingly important. Art is meant to be shared and like MIT’s open classroom initiatives and public domain book projects, this initiative gives things that may moulder on shelves and in out-of-the-way museums new life. While the reproductions aren’t as beautiful as the originals (yet), 3D printing is only getting better and it’s only a matter of time before we can beautify our homes and lives with art, design, and architecture from around the world.