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Disney Researchers Develop New Physical Face Cloning Method
August 14, 2012 12:42 AM   Subscribe

Disney researchers have created a new physical face cloning method. The automatic process designs, simulates, and fabricates synthetic skin.
posted by VivP (32 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Disney has researchers?
posted by Mezentian at 12:57 AM on August 14, 2012


Yes, they do all the Mickey Mouse science.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:03 AM on August 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Also, you will be less amazed when you read the link and realize this is the plastic kind of skin you need for animatronics (or a secret army of androids trained for world domination).
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:05 AM on August 14, 2012


Their chief reputation is in the applied fields, like imagineering, but they also have a world-leading department in funsterology and the school of Thrillanomics is said to be under-rated by some. You don't often hear about it, but there's some good unglamorous work in basic burgernomistry going on in the background, too.
posted by Segundus at 1:12 AM on August 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


So,.. can I like... order a Miley Cyrus or a Jonas Brother (Nick preferred)?
posted by Hicksu at 1:14 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Disney Researchers Develop New Physical Face Cloning Method

Call me old-fashioned but I think the old physical face cloning methods were better. But maybe that's just nostalgia talking.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:19 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hell, Texas in the 70s, all they needed was a chainsaw and a barn, and still find time to make it out to the highway for a sunset dance. Those were the days.
posted by mannequito at 1:24 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


This explains why servants of the Many Faced God wear Mickey Mouse colours.
posted by destrius at 1:25 AM on August 14, 2012


The Hall of Inaccurate Presidents
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:34 AM on August 14, 2012


But the old physical face cloning methods kept making you look like Nicolas Cage...
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:40 AM on August 14, 2012


We won't be a truly evolved and enlightened society until we've shifted most of our defense spending to the Army Corps of Imagineers.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:58 AM on August 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Paging Mickey Rourke to make up.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:12 AM on August 14, 2012


Paging Mickey Rourke to make up.

He's wearing the prototype already.
posted by dubold at 2:18 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, I was needing some uncanny valley. It's impressive, but still just doesn't look right. I think the exact same problem plagues CGI movies like Polar Express and Beowulf, the ones going for ultra-realism: the lips don't move enough. Everything looks alright but when he talks, the lips of the model are still very wooden and rubbery, and for all the talk about how the mouth movement is highly detailed, it's not detailed enough. They don't twist and move quickly like real human lips. Look at the side-by-side comparison at the very end, you can see the difference very well.

I'm no robotics expert, but at a guess I'd say they need more servos on those lips. Lots of teeny-tiny servos, just like humans have lots of teeny-tiny muscles there. Maybe that's a hardware/engineering limitation.

Then there's the eye problem...robot/glass eyes, CGI eyes, they just look creepy and not real. Who knows if they'll ever solve that issue.
posted by zardoz at 2:56 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


In my day we had to send away to Kamino for clones, and that's how we liked it!

/hitches onion-festooned blaster holster
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:57 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Real Doll™? (NSFW)
posted by vhsiv at 3:22 AM on August 14, 2012


for all the talk about how the mouth movement is highly detailed, it's not detailed enough.

Agreed. They've come a long way from a binary "open or closed mouth" used on the earliest animatronic figures, but they're probably still a few hundred servos away from getting realistic and convincing movement.

The texturing and modeling looks terrific, though.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:57 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember reading about these fluid-based motion systems for robots, flexible shaped bladders full of air (or liquid?) that can be manipulated into different shapes by varying the pressure: I bet realistic-looking lips will be achieved using something like that rather than thousands of servos.
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:09 AM on August 14, 2012


I agree: it's impressive, but still smack in the middle of the uncanny valley. In addition to the slowness of the lips, I was also bothered by the lack of variations in pressure. By this, I mean that the lips never purse or stretch, the way I would expect real human lips to. Of course, the human actor does not purse or stretch his lips, either -- but the animated lips don't accurately portray plosives such as 'b' or 'p' sounds.

Human speech processing: it's crazy!
posted by tickingclock at 4:25 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, it accurately recreates the way people hold the top of their heads perfectly still while their necks flop around.
posted by DU at 4:40 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disney labs unveils its latest child stars
posted by mulligan at 4:59 AM on August 14, 2012


They're still working on those pesky five-fingered hands, though.
posted by Curious Artificer at 5:19 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Three screens down and no Romney joke? Slackers.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:39 AM on August 14, 2012


I'm holding out for spines that glow when the robots are doin' it.
posted by sonascope at 7:59 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disney has researchers?

Yes, in quite a few fields. Disney Research proper covers a lot of areas, including novel user interfaces, robotics, and computer animation. It has several labs around the country and one in Zürich.

Other parts of Disney do research as well. For example, the aquarium at Epcot (which contains the second largest saltwater tank in the world) does research with dolphins (e.g. this piece in Letters to Nature [pdf]). The Land at Epcot does plant biology (e.g. beneficial insects [pdf] and hydroponic [pdf] systems).

A lot of what Disney Research will ultimately end up in movies and theme park attractions, but the Epcot research is basically science for its own sake. The direct benefit to Disney is that the exhibits can show real scientists at work.
posted by jedicus at 8:19 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh crap, phasing out us flesh-and-blood Cast Members in 3...2...1...
posted by book 'em dano at 10:09 AM on August 14, 2012


The Land at Epcot does plant biology

If any of you are visiting Walt Disney World, I recommend the Behind the Seeds tour for an overview of some of the SCIENCE going on.
posted by Fleebnork at 12:10 PM on August 14, 2012


We spared no expense.
posted by the_artificer at 12:13 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Disney R&D: Always seeking new ways to build a better Parent Trap.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:44 PM on August 14, 2012


The imprecise mouth movements aside, I screamed "KILL IT WITH FIRE" when the animatronic version came up in the first 30 seconds or so. It wasn't until they did the side by side lip sync comparison that my fears were slightly abated.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:24 PM on August 14, 2012


I want to be an imagineer so bad.
posted by Brainy at 8:50 PM on August 14, 2012


I haven't yet watched the entire 4 minute video but what stands out to me right away is that the ears don't move. I've gotten as far as the blue face sim, and it doesn't even bother with having ears. What kind of "realistic" simulation of the human face would ignore the ears?
posted by effwerd at 7:45 PM on August 16, 2012


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