HBO’s “Westworld” showed a theme park in which humanoid robots were nearly indistinguishable from human guests, and with a new patent filing, it appears Disney is looking to make such a place a reality.
The patent is for a “soft body robot for physical interaction with humans … particularly with children.”
According to the filing, the company has already played with the technology by creating a “toy-sized robot” based on an unknown character that was “robust to playful, physical interaction.”
The body parts, the filing said, were created with a 3-D printer and filled with a liquid or gas. Each part was able to detect contact because it was connected to a pressure sensor.
When contact was made, the robot was controlled differently “to provide protection to the child (or other outside actor) and robot during the interaction,” the filing said.
While it is not known what exactly Disney plans to do with the patent or if it indeed will add humanoid robots to its staff one day, the signs are there that real theme park life could soon be imitating reel theme park life.
There might be an audience in the prospect, as “Westworld” had the most-watched first season of an HBO original series, averaging 12 million viewers across all of the channel’s platforms, Deadline reported in December.
Based on the cult 1973 movie of the same name, which was written and directed by Michael Crichton, “Westworld” is slated to return for a 10-episode second season in 2018.
While many fans will be counting down to see what happens in the aftermath of the Season 1 finale of “Westworld,” whether the real world is ready to interact with humanoid robots at Disney is a whole other unwritten story.