Nothing can beat Disney for its lovely fairy tale stories and the beautiful animated movies they take. But that is not all. Disney has joined hands with a research institute in Zurich and come up with an artistic robot called BeachBot. Disney’s BeachBot is a cartoony looking turtle-shaped robot that could draw images on the sand. This is one of the latest Disney’s fun projects.
The adorable-looking little robot is about 60cms long and 40cms wide. The robot get going with two rear wheels whereas the single wheel in the front steers. On its rear is the array of metal rake with tines that are deployed and retracted with the servo motors. This helps the robot draw lines as wide as it body. It can draw images up to a size of 10 x 10 meter square on the sandy surface.
The Disney’s artistic robot makes use of poles to mark its boundary and laser scanner on the top of its body to track location. These assist the robot to draw images with better precision and accuracy. The best thing is that the wheel tracks of the robot are not visible around the rake pattern. The balloon like thing for the wheels prevent the tracks from being visible on the path
The little orange turtle-shaped BeachBot was the result of the combined effort of a team from ETH Zurich and the Zurich division of Disney research lab responsible for developing fun projects. The real challenge was in translating the image to a data understandable by the robot says a researcher from the team. Though they have come up with algorithm readable by the robot, the robot which is a prototype is still not perfected and has few bugs to be worked upon.
Also, researchers are working on eraser technique to erase the unnecessary lines drawn by the turtle, if any and to create huge images along the shoreline. Paul Beardslay head of Disney Research, Zurich says he dreams to create huge amazing drawings like the Nazca Lines with the BeachBots.
Though the practical use of the robots is limited, as already mentioned this is a fun project of Disney. They are planning to use it at the Disney resorts to bring a small amount of excitement for the kids who would enjoy watching their favourite characters drawn on the sand.