I think the proper response to the phrase “physical face cloning” is “Gahhhhh.”
Nevertheless, Disney is looking to the new technology to make the animatronic characters in their theme parks all the more realistic to their millions of visitors.
“We propose a complete process for designing, simulating, and fabricating synthetic skin for an animatronics character that faithfully mimics a given target subject and its expressions. The goal of our work is to automate this process, to increase the realism of the resulting character and ultimately, to create an animatronic face that closely resembles a given human subject.”
And also creep out everyone on the “It’s a Small World” ride. Check out their research video below:
According to Disney’s research hub:
The process starts with measuring the elastic properties of a material used to manufacture synthetic soft tissue. Given these measurements we use physics-based simulation to predict the behavior of a face when it is driven by the underlying robotic actuation. Next, we capture 3D facial expressions for a given target subject.
Ok, this is some cool technology, I’ll admit it. But given a recent push to develop a fleet of sex robot prostitutes, I doubt that Disney will be the only one utilizing this when it’s all said and done.