Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Disney Opening New Research Lab In Cambridge, MA

Interesting news about a new Disney research lab to open in Cambridge, MA.

The lab is currently hiring researchers in social and behavioral sciences, data analytics and data mining, media, and transportation. There are also openings for software engineers with Web and mobile experience.

But what I found to be more interesting was the recap on the old Disney lab that has been closed.

The old Disney lab, overseen by Bran Ferren and Danny Hillis, was extremely low-profile. A former employee tells me — anonymously — that it worked on "high performance electric robotics," or a new generation of Audio-Animatronic technology, including robotic characters that could roam free-range around the theme parks and interact with guests. The original Disney lab in Cambridge also worked on a $50 plush toy sold in the company’s theme parks called “Pal Mickey.” Electronics hidden inside the toy would respond to infrared transmitters placed around the parks, and the toy would speak information about parade times or costumed characters that might be mingling with tourists nearby. Disney was also a sponsor of a research initiative at MIT's Media Lab called "Toys of Tomorrow," which sought to develop smarter and more interactive toys.

Hum... could Lucky the Dinosaur and the roving/talking trash be also the products of this research lab?


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