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Disney Autonomatronics Figure Can Sense If You’re Happy

posted on September 28th, 2009 by Thomas Smith, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

Here at Disney Parks, the three-dimensional stars of our attractions are animated. It’s been that way since shortly after Audio-Animatronics development began decades ago. But our latest innovation takes it to another level.

We’ve unveiled the first-ever Disney figure that can hear, see and sense whether or not you’re in the room. Yes, “Otto” is interactive. The figure can sense if you’re happy, hold conversations and react, according to Imagineer Scott Trowbridge.

Scott Brinegar / @2009 Disney

We first mentioned the technology, Autonomatronics technology, via Twitter (@DisneyParks) when Otto was displayed in our Disney Parks and Resorts Pavilion during the D23 Expo. Now, we have details.

Autonomatronics technology is different from Audio-Animatronics technology. Audio-Animatronics technology repeats a pre-programmed show over and over again. Autonomatronics technology is driven by sophisticated cameras and sensors giving Otto the ability to make choices about what to say and do.

Otto can also detect a number of things about a crowd, including how many people are in attendance. And Otto knows if you’re smiling too. But your smile will be obvious if you’re a lover of things high-tech.

Walt Disney Imagineers are currently working on places where we might put the technology into our Parks and Resorts around the world so you can experience yourself.

And of course, we’ll be bringing you more Autonomatronics technology updates on the blog in the future. Let us know what you think.

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Filed: Behind the Scenes, Disney Differences, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort



Sean on September 28th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Looks great! :p


Jackey on September 28th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Sounds a happy Disney version of the Terminator. It knowing when I smile is cool and little bit creepy at the same time. Look very stellar!


BRANDY from LA on September 28th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

kids will love this


Lee on September 28th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Saw this in person at D23. Have to see it to believe it!! Great new technology. I wonder where we will see it used first. :)


Chris from Cambs on September 28th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Sounds great – imagine walking into an attraction to have Otto – or a relative of Otto engage with you, and responding to your facial expressions and movements!

Look forward to seeing it on my next visit


Sean on September 28th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Looks terrific. I would love to see something like this implemented with Indiana Jones. Imagine being able to talk to Indy!


Robert from MI on September 28th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

This technology is incredible. I can’t wait to see future applications for this. Example: a fully interactive Stitch!!!


Deborah from VA on September 28th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Since those of us on the East Coast that couldn’t get to the D23 Expo missed seeing this, when might this show up at WDW so we can see it? It would be a great addition somewhere in Tomorrowland or maybe Innoventions at Epcot.


Jacob on September 28th, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Wow, this sounds amazing! This reminds me of the golden age of WDI (or should I say WED). Bring this technology to WDW ASAP! Also, I agree with Deborah from VA, I think an Innoventions exhibit would be amazing and truly be something of the future.


Travis from NH on September 28th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

It would be awesome for Auto to have a presentation at Innoventions at EPCOT. A perfect location and a chance for the east coast fans who didn’t get to see him at the Expo. :)


Lisa from CT on September 28th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

I can’t wait to see how the Imagineers implement this in the parks! Otto is so cool.


Matt on September 28th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

You can see a video of this figure in action at the D23 Expo


Melanie from NC on September 28th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

This is so cool. This would be great at Innoventions (and I’m not just saying that because it’s a much shorter plane flight than Disneyland!)


Valter from CE on September 28th, 2009 at 4:25 pm

That’s just great! I wonder where we’ll be able to interact with Otto! maybe on my next trip, i’ll can see him face-to-face


Nick from CA on September 28th, 2009 at 6:21 pm



Tricia from MI on September 28th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

How cool is this!! The possibilities with this could be endless! I cannot wait to see Otto at the parks!


Juliann on September 28th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Looks amazing. Now what are you going to do with him?


Anna from WA on September 28th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Very cool! I can’t wait to see it in action at the parks someday! Way to go, Disney! :)


Mike from AL on September 28th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

This is amazing technology! It’s neat to see how Disney is making everything more interactive, and blurring the line between reality and imagination. One has to wonder if we will ever see a park where the classic Disney characters will literally walk around and talk with guests. Like a more interactive version of the articulated heads they use on “Dream Along With Mickey” at WDW.



Thomas on September 28th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

This was so cool to see in person! It’s really exciting to see the direction AA figures are being taken!


jon from CO on September 29th, 2009 at 12:26 am

bring back the People Mover,Adventure thru Inner Space,Skyway to Tomorrowland.. Clean up the water the come out of the materhorn and in pirates lagoon .. its green and its gross.. ban smoking .. make the food more affordable. Nemo subs are nice to have again but you ruined a perfectly good ride with that. Buzz light yr sucks .. add more to mickeys toon town. Anaheim should rival Orlando. Its time for more. Ive been going since i was 3 and ill always love it.


David from Bedfordshire on September 29th, 2009 at 8:07 am

It is wonderful to see the inverstment of time and capital being put into the further development of AA’s. To me, their use as a story telling medium is a key differenciator for Disney. As much as I find Turtle Talk, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and Stitch Live to be enjoyable experiences, to my mind, my favorite Disney attractions throughout the globe are exeplified by the use of Audio Animatronics. Adding an emotional AI capability to the technology makes it even more compelling.

I was always disappointed that Lucky and Beaker/Dr Honeydew never made it to Europe. I am hopeful this technology may one day come across.


Dawn from NJ on September 29th, 2009 at 4:35 pm

This sounds so great. I can’t wait to see it in the Parks in WDW.


Jason on September 30th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

I saw this guy at D23. Very well done blend of Audio-Animatronics and computer facial recognition and speech recognition technology.

What would really knock my socks off is if the figure could be programmed to react on the fly to crowd size and random comments made by the audience beyond a simple list of colors.

All in all, the Otto and Bird show was enjoyable at D23.

I would love to see further development on this technology…perhaps Otto could be the first Disney Audio-Animatronic with an independently controlled AI system capable of holding a simple realtime conversation with guests.


Fernie on October 7th, 2009 at 12:22 am

WOAH this is pretty cool but haha we have a robot that can talk and detect happiness but dont have a cure for cancer xD. but also what i hate is that people will like mess with it and ask stupid things and such which is a real sad face :(