Disney Creates New Eyes Thanks to 3D Printing

Disney (NYSE:DIS) has reached a breakthrough with its new 3D-printed eyes for use in 3D models and robots. The eyes, created by Disney Research in a project called Papillion, are definitely expressive enough now.

Disney Research has not created human looking eyes, which would be a strange contrast with the animated models with which they would be used. Instead, ExtremeTech says that these eyes are more like curved displays that fit with the style of these figures.

This is a big breakthrough because with previous methods Disney was not able to develop expressive enough eyes. These new eyes are printed slice by slice, which means that transparent photopolymers can be put between the transparent supports.

In addition to expressing  a range of emotions, the eyes can also display hearts and other symbols. A teaser video from Disney shows these eyes in action starring three characters created by the research team — Iggy, Beep, and Boop.

Disney Research associate Eric Brockmeyer says regarding the project, “One of our goals was to create minimal displays, to figure out how much resolution do you really need to express emotion.”

The displays showcased in Disney’s video are still pretty basic. However, PCMag notes that this technology is scalable, so it can be used for very small characters in the future. This technology could have a variety of uses in the future. For one thing, it could be put into a little robotic toy similar to Furby. Additionally, ExtremeTech reports that this technology could eventually be used for human prosthetic eyes.

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