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Creepy or Very Cool? Disney Just Filed a Patent for More Realistic and Advanced Skin for Robots and Animatronics!

Disney is always working on some crazy new tech, and WE’RE always looking out for their newest innovations!

Hondo Ohnaka

Imagineers have been doing a lot of work on tech for the parks and a LOT of that has to do with robotics. Disney is at the forefront of animatronic and entertainment robotics engineering, so they come up with crazy new inventions ALL THE TIME. Recently, we’ve spotted a realistic robot handshake and a patent for an autonomous park-roaming robot. Today, we spotted a NEW patent and this one focuses on a robot’s…skin? You read that right! Take a look!

Disney cranks out patents like nobodies business, but they don’t all apply to the parks. Sometimes they’re coming up with a neat consumer product or a new way to innovate in the film industry. Today though, we spotted a patent for a “Robotics Skin System with Integral Elastomeric Links to Complete Mechanical Linkages.”


Now we know what you’re thinking: “What the HECK does that mean???” Essentially, Disney has developed a new skin (yes, like people skin) for their animatronics and robots. The “new” aspect is that this skin system can be used to connect moving parts of the robot instead of with a frame and joints underneath. The best way to visualize this is to think of a robotic octopus tentacle that has no mechanical bones.


We apologize for the following illustration because it IS horrifying, but it’s a pretty good explanation of how this tech could be used. In a humanoid robot, the skin system could be used as a face made of latex (or similar material) with stiffened areas to connect to the motorized and robotic aspects, rather than the more traditional “robot skeleton” with a rubber skin stretched over it.


We’re not sure if that’s cool or creepy, but we are leaning towards the cool side. This is definitely the kind of tech that Disney could apply with new animatronics in their theme parks so it will be interesting to see what sort of bots are developed in the coming years!

We’ll be keeping a close eye on new Disney tech, so follow along with us to make sure you know all about the new innovations!

What do you think of this amazing new tech? Tell us in the comments! 

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Filed Under: Disney News, disney parks, Featured, News, Animatronics, Audio-Animatronics, Disney innovation, Disney Patent, Disney Tech, Imagineering, Robot skin