Disney's Animatronics Now Play Catch Like The Android Dad You Always Wanted

If you thought Disneyland's Hall of Presidents was awesome before, imagine how great it would be if you could play catch with Abraham Lincoln or Richard Nixon? That's seemingly the goal behind this latest engineering — err, imagineering — breakthrough that let will let the park's non-human characters now interact with guests.

Using external cameras on a Kinect-like sensor, that track the motion of a toss, and algorithms that predict where it will land, the robot appears to track the ball with its eyes and is actually able to reach out and make a catch. Most of the time, at least. If it misses the animatronic looks down at where the ball eventually landed, and either shrugs or shakes its head in disappointment, knowing that somewhere the frozen corpse of Walt is secretly looking at it in shame. [YouTube via Popular Science]

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