Disney Invents LED Robots That Create Animation in Real Time

Walt Disney Research Lab and ETH Zurich have designed LED two-wheeled robots named Pixelbots that are able to create animation in real time. 

Pixelbots designed by Disney scientists and researchers at ETH Zurich. (photo courtesy of Disney http:// Wired)

The Pixelbots have a magnetic wheelbase that allows them to move around freely on flat surfaces that include floors, walls, or ceilings. They also use RBG LEDs which allows them to glow in a variety of colors. With a battery life of around two to four hours, the Pixelbots are able to say powered through feature-length applications, according to Wired. 

The researchers developed a robot positioning software to keep the little bots from running into one another and accurately locating their position. The Pixelbots have four different methods of interaction. The first is through direct interaction, where one Pixelbot is moved and automatically changes color according to its placement. The second is through real-time drawing interface. The Pixelbots will move and change color depending on the picture draw on a corresponding screen. The third form of interaction is gesture-based, human body movements are used to control an image made out of the bots. The bots will move where ever a hand or foot gestures. The last is through interaction with a hand-held tablet. This allows users to sketch out a shape and the bots will recreate that drawing. 

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