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Have You Seen This? Sad robot wants toy

Posted September 8

Fall in love with one of the Disney’s latest research developments, Jimmy the robot. (Deseret Photo)

THE MAGIC LAB — When you wish upon a star — or more precisely, when you put a lot of hard work into making something look like magic — dreams do come true.

Disney creates magic in many inventive ways, which of course includes a lot of science and engineering. After all, dreams just don’t grow out of pumpkin patches. But did you know that Disney runs its own research hub?

That’s where where Jimmy the robot the “teleoperated robot based on hybrid hydrostatic transmissions” was born and developed with researches from Catholic University of America and Carnegie Mellon University. In the most reduced terms, this means Jimmy is a hybric hydraulic robot that uses both air and water to achieve delicate and fluid motions.

While the engineering itself is fascinating, I instead want to talk about how said engineering will make you immediately fall in love with a robot that looks like a very advanced and less obnoxious Johnny Five from “Short Circuit.”

Just watch the video and tell me you don’t feel really sad for Jimmy when he can’t immediately get Pooh Bear into his red rubber ball “hands.” I fully admit that I let out an audible “aww” in my sadness.

Of course, right now (but maybe not in the future), Jimmy is controlled by a hidden puppeteer, so it’s easier to infuse the robot with human-like emotion, but that doesn’t stop the visuals and the science from being awesome. Plus, you may not have noticed as you watched, but that robot makes almost no sound when it moves.

You can read more about the development, technical aspects and possible applications of the robot in the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ interview with the initial lead researcher.

Watch Jimmy interact with children, move an egg and play catch in this video.

Martha Ostergar is the former Video Productions Manager of KSL.com. She has moved on to write elsewhere, but she can't seem to break her habit of cruising the internet for amazing videos and writing about them. Follow her on Twitter at @monstergar.

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