a new service at Walt Disney (VIDEO)
Once upon a time, Walt Disney decided he wanted to do more than animation — he wanted to elevate amusement parks to an art form and create utopian cities. Instead of leaving his burgeoning cartoon studio to chase this new dream, he spun off a small skunkworks team in 1952 called Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), that went on to develop robotic-president animatronics, theme parks, and other technological wonders.
But more important than any of their individual innovations, WDI left an imprint on the organization that leads Imagineers to continuously seek ways to use technology in the service of stories. Fast forward to 2012, and Disney’s research group now has six offices across the world, from Burbank to Zurich, releasing commercial projects and academic papers at a pace that would make the Seven Dwarves proud. We’ve poured over their output and found a few of the newest, coolest ones.