As the Inquisitr previously reported, Disney’s Big Hero 6 was the big winner over the weekend, taking in $56.2 million and beating out Christopher Nolan’s science fiction epic Interstellar.
Not only was Big Hero 6 a hit with audience members, but critics loved it, too. The review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes has the film ranked at an 89 percent, with 112 of the 126 reviews being positive.
The inspiration for Baymax – the gigantic, healthcare-providing robot that appears in Big Hero 6 – came from what the filmmakers saw at Carnegie Mellon University, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And one of the professors in the university’s Robotics Institute, Chris Atkeson, said a real life Baymax could be happening soon.
“Robots as caregivers – it’s going to happen. 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.”
While most robots are made of metal, Atkeson noted that there is one way to make it to where they can’t bring harm to humans, if they do happen to crash.
“So how do you build something where even if it crashes, you are totally safe? The idea was to make them as light as possible, and one way to do that is make them inflatable.”
And “inflatable” is what caught the attention of Don Hall, one of Big Hero 6’s directors. Hall noted that he and co-director, Chris Williams, were looking for an original idea for the creation of Baymax.
“We’ve seen a lot of robots, and we wanted this one to be fresh and new. He had to be appealing and huggable. Once I saw a very crude arm that was inflatable and could do very simple tasks, you could extract the character from there. Baymax’s entire persona came from that research trip.”
Atkeson added that the look of the Big Hero 6 robot is just about done, but the entire project is still a work in progress.
“The body is relatively close. The ‘brain’ part is still very hard. [The technology would] have to be able to see and tell what’s going on, make good decisions, and be able to interact with people.”
Atkeson also mentioned that a robot like Baymax could be beneficial for a lot of people.
“There’s a big interest in handling depression. 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.”
Would you buy your own Big Hero 6 robot?
[Image credit: Disney via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]