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Disney Imagineering reveals Project Kiwi animatronic Baby Groot

Walt Disney Imagineering has unveiled the animatronic Baby Groot teased during an event earlier this month, which is part of ‘Project Kiwi‘.


Project Kiwi refers to technology developed and designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in recent years, resulting in a realistic Groot robot from Guardians of the Galaxy (via TechCrunch).

Baby Groot was first teased at a virtual event titled ‘A Special Look Inside Disney Parks’ on April 8, with a conversation between Josh D’Amaro and Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios.

Project Kiwi could transform Disney’s theme parks across the globe, with Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) writing on Instagram: “Free-roaming robotic actor.

“Take a first look at one of the many new innovations being created at Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development. This small-scale, free-roaming robotic actor can take on the role of similarly-sized characters.”

Baby Groot can move and act alone

“While only in an early exploration stage, a prototype in the form of Groot is being used to test unique traits, gaits and capabilities,” WDI explained.

The Project Kiwi robotics platform is still in development and involves a small robot that can move and act on its own. This means the bot can interact with theme park visitors in the near future, although WDI still has work to do.

Scott LaValley, a principal Imagineer working on the project, told TechCrunch: “Project Kiwi started about three years ago to figure out how we can bring our smaller characters to life at their actual scale in authentic ways.

Project Kiwi still in development

“It’s an exciting time for bipedal robotics and with an incredible team and our combination of technology, artistry and magic, we are bringing characters to life that could not have happened anywhere but Disney.”

During the special event on April 8, D’Amaro confirmed that an animatronic Spider-Man will be seen “flinging through the air” at Avengers Campus when it opens on June 4.

“Only Disney would do this,” he said. “It just pulls you immediately into the story.” Towards the end of Disney’s presentation, D’Amaro showcased a “real” lightsaber.

Images: WDI

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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