As development of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is underway, the scientists at Disney Research are trying to figure out exactly what type of “droids you’re looking for.” An increased interest in a robotic presence in the parks has arisen, and Disney Research is trying to determine not only how humans might perceive robots they interact with, but also what factors can change that perception.
Two publications from March involved studies of a hand-off experiment between a human and robot, each having the robot change methods for the exchange, or switching its “body language.” The first study measured the social perception a human would have of a robot using various positions; the second measured how the robot’s grasping technique could evoke different handover reactions from the human, and what method has the smoothest human-to-robot exchange.
As is always the way with Disney Research, these publications are both in-depth and highly technical. Most likely the largest takeaway for theme park fans will be the possible implications this could have in Disney’s upcoming land based on a very robot-friendly intellectual property — Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
As “droids” play such a prominent role in the Star Wars franchise, park guests can obviously expect some robotic presence in the land, but the full extent of actual human-to-robot interaction beyond simple animatronics in unknown. This research could suggest that Disney is testing a much more interactive experience for future use in their parks. These studies could apply to anything from character meet-and-greets to quick service ordering, especially if you combine it with a previous robot study which tested menu ordering interactions.
These are simply scientific publications, and there is no guarantee this research will lead to any specific applications in Galaxy’s Edge or other lands; but, given the subject matter and Disney’s upcoming projects, it is not inconceivable that this will have an effect on the way guests enjoy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Check out a video from Disney Research’s latest study below:
Source: Orlando Business Journal
Source/Image: Disney Research – “Evaluating Social Perception of Human-to-Robot Handovers Using the Robot Social Attributes Scale”, “Exploration of Geometry and Forces Occurring within Human-to-Robot Handovers”