"Big Hero 6" was a runaway hit in its first week of release, banking more than $50 million over the weekend. Now, audiences who fell in love with giant inflatable robot Baymax may one day see a real-life version of the cuddly creature, as filmmakers revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that the character was based on current scientific research.
Chris Atkeson, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, tells THR that the minds behind "Big Hero 6" visited the school's lab, and were so impressed with its soft robotics work that they used it to help create Baymax. Atkeson added that the animated hero could become a reality someday.
"Robots as caregivers -- it's going to happen," Atkeson told THR. "There are a lot of people who need physical help -- people with disabilities, older people. 'Terminator'-like technology is scary; if it falls on someone or closes its hand [at the wrong time], it could seriously injure someone. So how do you build something where even if it crashes, you are still totally safe? The idea was to make them as light as possible, and one way to do that is to make them inflatable."
That inflatability immediately appealed to "Big Hero 6" directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, who ran with that idea in helping inform the Baymax character. Hall told THR that filmmakers wanted the robot "to be appealing and huggable," and found that through their research trip to Carnegie Mellon's lab.
As for Hiro's relationship with Baymax, in which the lovable robot helps the young man overcome grief, Atkeson tells THR that that scenario is also based on real research.
"There's a big interest in handling depression," Atkeson told the trade. "And the notion that a robot could provide therapy, that's very popular in autism. Some autistic children relate much better to, essentially, machines. Crude versions are not too far off, but it's going to take a while before we get good at it."
We can't wait for the future.
[via: The Hollywood Reporter]
Photo credit: Disney