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Carnegie Mellon’s Disney lab shutters but plenty of sponsored research continues


By David Schwartz
Published: February 13th, 2018

Carnegie Mellon University may be wishing upon a star that Disney Research, the innovation arm of The Walt Disney Company, will reconsider vacating its research lab at the Collaborative Innovation Center on CMU’s campus. But the recent departure from the space doesn’t mean Disney is pulling up stakes completely, with many sponsored research projects still ongoing.

Disney Research, based in Glendale, CA, studies human-computer interaction, machine learning, data analytics, robotics, visual computing, and materials and fabrication.

In the past, CMU and Disney have worked together on computer techniques that quickly produce realistic animated facial expressions and body motions. The Collaborative Innovation Center was built in 2005 as a collaborative space for tech companies in the region, as well as corporate partners looking to work with CMU researchers.

The huge research building has been home to not only Disney Research, but also Google, Apple, and Intel among others.

The Walt Disney Company, the parent of the research division, appears to be maintaining a significant presence on campus. Drew Davidson, director of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center, said some students had worked in the Disney Research lab, but most of the center’s work has been with the parents company directly. “Our expectation is that our relationship will remain the same,” Davidson commented.

Ironically, just last week CMU and Disney Enterprises were assigned two joint patents, one on generating advanced 3-D images, and another for “automatic object detection” technology that could be used in a wristband.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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