A1000 is Disney Advanced Animatronic that Brings Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life

Disney Advanced Animatronic: Even though Glendale, California is not precisely in a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars characters that you know and love are brought to life inside of a beige structure here in Glendale.

Hondo Ohnaka, a conniving pirate who appears in Star Wars: Rebels, is the center of attention behind its unremarkable walls, where he is protected from the abnormally frigid February day that is blowing outside. His head is bobbing up and down, and the long green alien braids on his head are moving. It seems as though his foot is taking a step forward, rattling the metal belt. The corners of his mouth turn up into a broad smile, and then he breaks out into a roaring belly laugh.

It appears, for a brief moment, as though this multicolored extraterrestrial with horns for a beard is made of living tissue. However, Hondo is a Disney audio-animatronic, and he is one of the most advanced ever made. He is now getting set to make his debut at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Walt Disney World. In preparation for his installation in one of Disney’s theme parks, he is “cycling,” which means he is repeating the same set of moves over and over again for a period of one hundred and twenty hours.

Read More: Suction Cups Kinda Suck. A Wall-Climbing Robot Could Fix That

This clip was obtained from YouTube and imported. You might be able to locate the same content presented in a different manner on their website, or you might be able to get additional information there.

“We work years to witness this moment,” says Kathryn Yancey, a show mechanical engineer with Walt Disney Imagineering. “We are really excited!” “When he’s right there in front of you, it’s astounding how long he’s been on the computer,” someone said. “He’s been on it for so long.”

In December of 2015, Yancey and a number of other people started imagining, conceiving, and building Hondo. After three years have passed, it’s hardly surprising that feelings are still running strong. Yancey claims that the subject “moves, he talks, and he has a personality.” “Hondo exists in our world,” we say.

The animatronics industry has come a long way in the past 55 years, starting with pneumatically operated birds, then moving on to hydraulically driven former presidents, and finally innovating with electrically powered wicked witches like Hondo. But Hondo is an evolution beyond anything Disney has ever attempted, and it gives a moving, talking insight into Disney’s newest, largest, and most ambitious attraction. Hondo is a part of the Toy Story Land section of Disney’s Toy Story Land.

The A1: Presidents of the United States and Singing Birds

Insiders refer to Disney’s Grand Central Creative Campus in Glendale as “GC3,” and it is there that Walt Disney Imagineering’s full-service animated figure workshop can be found. Imagineers come up with ideas for, develop plans for, construct, engineer, program, paint, dress, and test audio-animatronic figures that will eventually be displayed in one of Disney’s 12 theme parks located in different parts of the world.

Within the confines of this structure, each and every step of the process is carried out. Because this location is home to some of Disney’s most tightly guarded secrets, access to individuals from the outside world is limited. Popular Mechanics, however, was given a one-of-a-kind exception just as Galaxy’s Edge is getting closer and closer to its opening day this year.

A1000 is Disney Advanced Animatronic that Brings Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to life

The Automated Leaders of Disney World’s Robot Presidents

In June of 1963, Disneyland presented the world with its first audio-animatronic, which may be described as a robot that combines both movement and sounds. The story goes that Walt Disney bought a caged mechanical bird in New Orleans when he was on vacation there and then had Imagineer Wathel Rogers take it apart to figure out how it worked. The avian served as the impetus for the creation of the singing macaws that can be found in the Enchanted Tiki Room.

When the attraction first opened, Disney stated that its engineers had employed a “new sort of valves and controls designed for rockets” in order to generate automatic motions in his robot birds. By “rockets,” Disney was referring to pneumatics and compressed air rockets. A magnetic tape system known as the Digital Animation Control System (DACS), which was first developed for use in the machinery needed to launch nuclear weapons, was also utilized by the team in order to coordinate the motions with audio and music.

A year later, Disney created its first human audio-animatronic with President Abraham Lincoln, a more sophisticated and mostly hydraulic version of the character. Pneumatic actuators were employed to give the president movement, and he was sculpted using Leonard Volk’s 1860 life mask. This president was created for the World’s Fair in 1964. (they also used dentures and glass eyes procured from a local mortician). The end product was a realistic statue of Abraham Lincoln, which to this day continues to educate guests about the park’s rich history.

In addition to this, Disney’s animated figure workshop is a place where the company’s history is still very much present. The top of the container that was used to transport Abraham Lincoln to the World’s Fair is currently displayed on a wall. One of the original macaws that used to be in the Enchanted Tiki Room may be found below that. They represent a significant step forward for audio-animatronics when taken together as a whole.

According to Victoria Thomas, a Walt Disney Imagineering employee and Disney show mechanical engineer, “[Pneumatic] permits movement from one end to the other, but can’t actually control or hang around in between that range.” “Hydraulics make it possible to change course and go in any direction within the range.” Yancey also points out that hydraulic figures have a greater degree of control, which “gives the sense of fluid motion.”

A strictly hydraulic, non-character-specific tool kit was developed as the next step in the evolution of the audio-animatronic in 1969, when construction on Florida’s Disney World began. This tool kit enabled standardized, adjustable, and efficient builds out of the dozens of animatronics that would be required for the new park. This was eventually referred to as the A1 figure.

A digitized picture from the Disney annual report from 1971 depicting a mock-up of the original Hall of Presidents attraction. The presidents of today are often portrayed by A1 animatronics.

These figurines were constructed, personalized, and then put in attractions that are now considered to be cultural relics, such as Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. There are still some of the original A1 audio-animatronics at both of the United States parks, despite the fact that the majority of them have been updated with newer technology in recent years. There are several A1 versions of the pirates that may be found in the backdrop at Disneyland. At Orlando, in the Hall of Presidents, previous presidents who simply stand there and nod, like Rutherford B. Hayes or William Henry Harrison, are also considered to be A1s.

However, A1 figures are cumbersome, thick, and difficult to modify. Therefore, in order for the animatronics to accommodate all of these components, they will need to be somewhat bigger, or, as Thomas puts it, “a tall and a little bit muscular typical human.” They are also restricted in functions, which are specified by points of articulation of a specific figure that bends on one axis. This means that they can only bend in one direction.

According to Thomas, “a function is a movement of the elbow.” “The twist in your wrist is a function,” the doctor said. A standard A1 figure was a fully functioning generic humanoid; however, the number of functions available on the figure varied depending on the kind of head that was fitted. It wasn’t nearly as complicated as C-3PO, but it was a step in the right direction.

The A100: Swashbuckling Pirates and Wicked Witches

A hundred different audio-animatronic characters are being prepared for use in Disney theme parks’ Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.

By the middle of the 1980s, Disney was aware that it required an update. A new software setting is known as “Compliance” was developed, and it was given that name because it acted as a shock absorber to reduce the amount of pressure that was placed on the entire body during a single movement. The so-called “shake” in the figure was eliminated by utilizing this software in conjunction with individualized hydraulic valves and hydraulic actuators.

“Movements for a typical robot are rather abrupt. “There is an art to softening it,” explains Yancey. “In order to produce that fluid, human-like [movement], you need to adjust the acceleration and velocity curves,” says one animation expert. “This will smooth out the animation curves.”

Enhancements were also made to the function stacking order, which describes the manner in which, when, and in what sequence certain joints move. Yancey states that “each function has an effect on each other.” [Case in point] “The functions of your wrist have an effect on your arm. A function of the brain can have an effect on a shoulder. It’s like a chain reaction.”

But even the simplest aspects, like day-to-day upkeep, need more development. Disney wanted to find better ways to keep all of its audio-animatronics working as they added more of them. A short time later, components became replaceable, and engineers restricted mobility to ensure that specific activities only wore on joints that could be replaced. Because of this, the audio-animatronics were able to be simply maintained over the course of several years.

The first appearance of the A100 was in 1989 as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Great Movie Ride” at what was then known as Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando and is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Her movements and the horrible cackle she made were eerily genuine, despite the fact that the attraction has since closed down.

According to Thomas, “when it was originally introduced, [the A100] had the most dynamic lifelike performance side of anything we’ve ever developed.” [citation needed]

The A100, much like the A1, is essentially a tool kit that enables engineers and builders to use particular components as they see fit, and there is still plenty of fully operational A100s in use in amusement parks today. There are a lot of A100s being used as Jack Sparrows in the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions. Donald Trump is a member of the Hall of Presidents in Orlando, joining the likes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Since 1989, modifications have been made to the A100 in order to satisfy ever-evolving requirements and technological standards. Electric has largely supplanted hydraulic as the system of choice due to the fact that it enables even more control over functions and its actuators do not deteriorate to the same extent over time. A beta prototype of the electric animatronic shaman that is featured in the Na’Vi River Journey attraction at Animal Kingdom in Orlando serves as a good example of a highly advanced electric animatronic. As we speak, the beta prototype sits a few feet away from us.

Thomas asserts that “she has the greatest utility of any figure we’ve ever built” in reference to the company’s creations. “And from the waist up, she’s nothing special.”

The one problem with using electricity is that it necessitates a significant amount of infrastructure on the inside, including motors, wires, and other components. The idea of “packing,” which refers to the manner in which a figure is constructed or costumed to conceal all of the required components it needs, comes into play here. It can be especially difficult to portray tiny figures, such as Elsa, on rides like the one at Epcot’s Frozen Ever After attraction. However, challenging problems inspire original answers.

According to Thomas, “the entire attraction is proportioned so that Elsa…looks proportional while still being huge enough to incorporate a mechanical design that was durable and maintenance.”

The A1000: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Imagineers pay little attention to the testing being done on the Hondo Ohnaka A1000 audio-animatronic.
Before the unveiling of the Star Wars attraction in 2015, preparations had already begun for the next evolutionary step in audio-animatronics, which is being referred to as the A1000. According to Yancey and Thomas, their team spent around one year working on eight distinct sizes of the A1000 before they were asked to take what they had learned and apply it to the process of producing bespoke Star Wars models. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

The intention of the A1000 initiative was to develop a family of standardized electric figures that would give increased design repeatability and control in order to facilitate both the construction and the upkeep of the system. Therefore, Disney was a pioneer in the development of proprietary software programs that provide predictive renderings and pre-visualizations. These programs help with a variety of tasks, such as seeing how a figure moves while wearing a costume and determining when components will need to be replaced. However, the ultimate objective is to provide a performance that is as lifelike as is humanly feasible.

Imagineers Brian Orr, John Larena, and Victoria Thomas take a look at a brand new A1000 advanced robotics figure.

“You’ll talk to animators who have mirrors at their desks and watch themselves move,” Yancey chuckles. “You’ll chat to animators who have mirrors at their desks.” “We draw ideas and motivation from one another.”

Enter: Hondo Ohnaka. Hondo will be one of the audio-animatronics at any Disney Park that is among the most technologically advanced when he is finally placed as part of the attraction Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. He possesses a total of 51 functions, 10 of which are located just within his head—a significant improvement from its A1 progenitor.

In addition, there is a bend in his knee, which gives the impression that Hondo is able to walk. This was something that was initially done with Rocket Raccoon in the Disneyland ride based on the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Imagineers from the state of California collaborated with engineers and designers from the state of Florida to create these brand new A1000 figures.

The speech and motions of Hondo appear to be just as genuine to the Imagineers who are viewing him as his skin is comprised of a lifelike silicone blend. Yancey adds, “You see his gorgeous face,” and she means it. “He is such an incredible and interesting figure to watch.”

Disney is remaining tight-lipped on which other fan-favorite Star Wars characters will be brought to life at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, despite the fact that Hondo will not be the only A1000 there. But even since George Lucas’s first film enthralled audiences across the world four decades ago, Star Wars has never felt so genuine as it does now.

According to Yancey, “if the [the audio-animatronics] are literally in front of you, you are in their tale, and they are in yours.” Machine, Technology, Art, Alfredo Ayala, an Imagineer for Disney, works on the head of a new A1000 sophisticated robotics figure that is now in the development stage.


Hello My self Emelia , I'm a Technology & Gaming Guides Expert. OR Also Providing Gaming Guides For Public information.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button