“The difference between fascination and intimidation is a fine line, but it is a line that Pandora walks successfully during its evening hours.”
– JeniLynn Knopp, Inside the Magic
On May 27, American theme park Walt Disney World will debut Pandora – The World of Avatar. Based on the extremely popular Disney film Avatar, Pandora serves to immerse its visitors into the fictional universe – with its floating mountains, gorgeous alien scenery, and voices from the wild hiding within its lush vegetation. Most impressively, however, which can be found on the Na’vi River Journey ride, are the animatronic Na’vi.
As can be seen in the video provided above, as visitors make their way through the river, they’ll come across what looks like an actual Na’vi singing and dancing under the guise of a shamanistic prayer. Thing is, it’s not an actual Na’vi; rather an animatronic incarnation with an incredible show of both fluidity and dexterity. The animatronics are so good that you’d swear it was actually a person hiding under makeup and silicone masking.
Which then makes you wonder just how much of this incredible technology will be used in the upcoming Avatar sequel films directed by James Cameron? If this can be reproduced at a mass scale, we could witness a huge comeback for animatronic against CGI.
The technology used to help generate a wide range of lifelike locomotion in the animatronic Na’vi will also likely be used in the future of robotics. One of the biggest criticisms about today’s robots is the fact that their locomotion is extremely limited given a lack of both fluidity and dexterity. Nearly everything about a robot’s locomotion is simply awkward and hard to look at. This will all change in the next few years.
Ten to fifteen years from now, expect to see advanced robots entering the market that’ll show similar fluidity as that of the animatronic Na’vi displayed at Walt Disney World. They’ll begin to move like us, talk like us, and even think like us thanks to the equal advancements in artificial intelligence.
Photo Credit: Inside the Magic