Six hundred series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy.

Disney Research, Zurich Develops New Physical Face Cloning Method

The automatic process designs, simulates, and fabricates synthetic skin. Disney Researchers says creating animatronic copies of real human individuals is currently a "difficult and labor-intensive process requiring the manual work of skilled animators, material designers and mechanical engineers." Researchers at Disney Research, Zurich, and Walt Disney Imagineering R&D have developed a new computational design process for cloning human faces they say could great simplify and speed up the process.

Manually designing the shape and material properties of a single skin that is able to achieve all of these targets is a complex and challenging task. The researchers have invented a computational method for automatically designing synthetic skin to match real individuals. The process starts by scanning 3D facial expressions from a human subject. Then, a novel optimization scheme determines the shape of the synthetic skin as well as control parameters for the robotic head that provide the best match to the human subject.

Dr. Bernd Bickel, researcher at Disney Research, Zurich, says, "With our method, we can simply create a robotic clone of a real person. The custom digitally designed skin can be fabricated using injection molding and modern rapid prototyping technology. We 3D print a mold and use elastic silicon with properties similar to human skin as base material."


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5 Responses:

  1. Eric Thayer says:

    Guess they didn't want the hassle of making eyes?

  2. Joe says:

    Thankfully we'll still be able to identify them by their foreign accents and one-liners.

  3. 205guy says:

    Honestly, it's a lot of really neat ideas and complex work (determining the varying thickness of the "skin" to achieve the "right" motion), but I think the result still fell into the uncanny valley (missing tag?). The resulting "face" does not look like the cloned human to me, and the motion of the lips looks like a dubbed movie, not a real speaker. The real test would be weather a lip-reader can understand what the clone is "saying."

  4. Sesarr says:

    The cylons were created by Man
    They rebelled
    They evolved
    There are many copies

    And they have a plan.