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Disney enters robotic toy market with programmable robots
Posted on 1-May-2008 17:16. | Tags Filed under: News.

Disney enters robotic toy market with programmable robots
Disney Consumer Products is entering into the robotic toy market with a line of robotic toy products created in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios, Thinkway Toys and WowWee.

The robotic toys are inspired by WALL·E, the robot from the Disney·Pixar theatrical release of the same name, and Tinker Bell, the Disney Fairy.

The iDance WALL·E dancing boombox will be available in June; the Ultimate WALL·E robotic toy and the remote control Tinker Bell flying toy will be available this fall.

Disney says the toys show life-like movements and features designed to impress fans, and expect these new robotic toys to be big hits with holiday shoppers this year.

Disney has been a pioneer in the area of entertainment robotics and audio-animatronics technology since the early 1960s, beginning with the opening of Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room, where a chorus of colorful tropical birds moved their eyes and faces to music, and at the 1964 World’s Fair, where a life-like Abe Lincoln recited famous speeches at the “Great Moments With Lincoln” exhibit.

Audio-Animatronics technology has since become a ubiquitous feature of Disney's Theme Parks and Resorts. More recently, Walt Disney Imagineering has debuted Lucky The Dinosaur and The Muppet Mobile Lab – free-roaming Muppets capable of interacting with park guests.

The WALL·E line of robotic toys was developed in collaboration with Toronto-based Thinkway Toys. In addition to the Ultimate WALL·E and iDance WALL·E, Thinkway will bring to market additional WALL·E-inspired robots, action figures, playsets, a role-play WALL·E robot arm, novelties and collectibles.

Disney’s new line of robotic toys will debut at Maker Faire, a popular, ever-growing gathering for geeks and tech do-it-yourselfers, which will be held 3rd and 4th May at the San Mateo Fairgrounds in California.

The Ultimate WALL·E is an advanced robot featuring 10 motors, giving it a high level of movement and animation. The remote control makes it easy for kids to program WALL·E’s movements. A touch programming system lets kids direct WALL·E simply by making patterns on the remote's touch pad.

With voice activation and a follow-me mode, WALL·E can follow the sound of a human voice and detect someone entering a room. He also has several emotional states and an easy system for programming thousands of combinations of movements with the remote. Numerous sensors allow him to detect and respond to his environment, including infrared sensors that allow him to detect obstacles and steer around them, sonic ears that detect sound direction, and touch sensors.

The Ultimate WALL·E is also MP3 compatible and features built-in speakers. USB cables and rechargeable batteries are included. The Ultimate WALL·E will debut with a suggested price of US$189.99.

The iDance WALL·E talks, dances and has animated eyes that move and groove to the music. Its audio in-jack works with any iPod or MP3 player. It features sound activation functionality, action and play. It will be available from US$24.99.

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