Disney Publications

edited February 2016 in General
Any of you folks aware of this? Stumbled upon it a while ago and there is a wealth of awesome information and inspiration available here.
They publish some excellent and detailed information about all manner of things.


One of my favourites is the Low-Friction Passive Fluid Transmission and Fluid-Tension Soft Actuator.
The dexterity and fluidity of the motion is just beautiful.
I even researched to see if it was possible to home-brew nitrile rubber to make some of those rolling diaphragms, but it seems nitrile rubber requires all manner of sorcery to conjure.
I wonder if there is a way to make a similar device using silicone or castable rubber / vinyl. (They use nitrile rubber with a layer of woven fabric to prevent over-stretching).
Full actuator cylinders are available but I would expect that the price puts them out of reach for most of us mere mortals looking to hold stock of a bunch of them in our animatronic kits. ( http://www.controlair.com/index.php/diaphragm-air-cylinders/rolling-diaphragm-cylinders )
Bellofram make similar rolling diaphragms and the company I work for deals with them regularly so I may try to contact someone there and see if I can obtain anything workable.

Another favourite of mine is the Computational Design of Mechanical Characters software. I would give my left testicle to get my hands on this software. Alas, I have searched extensively and it does not appear to be available to the public.

They have tons of awesome stuff there, hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.


  • Another incredibly intruiging article is their publication on Physical Face Cloning.
    They use clever algorithms to figure out the thickness of "skin" in each part of an animatronic face to best replicate how a face wrinkles and distorts.

  • Disney Research is pretty awesome, they do a lot of groundbreaking work.

    One of my favorite things they did a few years back was develop a method for modeling and 3D printing the inner mold core for an animatronic figure's head in a way that produced silicone skins with varied thickness around key movement points to get more natural motion.

    The targeted curve software for setting up gear driven animation is absolutely amazing.

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