Saturday, September 26, 2009

Introducing NAO, a nice little robot

Any Disney fan loves robots, specially in a WDI attraction, so to end this week-end here is a cute little one called NAO. The kind of robot you might see at Epcot Innoventions.

NAO was designed by a french team of robotics fans and i think they did a pretty good job on this 23 inches tall robot. And i like its design. More about NAO from the press release: "Project Nao, launched in early 2005, aims to make available to the public, at an affordable price, a humanoid robot with mechanical, electronic, and cognitive features, based on those of the prototype (see graphic below)

Featured with an intuitive dedicated programming interface, Choregraphe, the entire family will be able to enjoy the robot experience. Yet, full of new technologies, our robot will also satisfy the demanding techno-addict’s expectations.

Designed for entertainment purposes, Nao will be able to interact with its owner, with evolving behaviors and functionalities. Additionally, the user will be able to teach Nao new behaviors using a computer with Wi-Fi connectivity. The behaviours creating software is designed to fit any users level: from graphical block editing for beginners to code for more skilled users. The possible behaviors are limited only by your imagination!"

Allright, all this sounds good, alas there is a little problem: NAO's price! Aldebaran Robotics, the company which created NAO intend to sell it for...$3000! Frankly, it's too expensive. I'm sure it's a sophisticated little robot but they should find a way to sell it at a cheaper price. WowWee robots are sold for a 10th of this price...

However, as the best is to see NAO in action, have a look at the two videos below!

Pictures and videos: copyright Aldebaran Robotics

Friday, September 25, 2009

Disneyland Halloween Season began !

Disneyland began its Halloween season yesterday and this 2009 season offers a new fireworks “Halloween Screams - A Villainous Surprise in the Skies”. The new fireworks spectacular will haunt the nighttime sky throughout the Halloween season.

To start the show, “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington appears in a flash of fire above Sleeping Beauty Castle. Thanks to Jack’s ghoulish charm, haunting melodies fill the air and a Halloween pyrotechnics extravaganza explodes into the night.

Such classic Disney villains as Maleficent, Ursula the Sea Witch and Oogie Boogie join in the “spirit” of the celebration, and even Zero, Jack’s faithful ghost dog, will make an appearance. Spectators in Disneyland are encouraged to participate in a bone-chilling Halloween Scream-Along during the show.

Here is a great video of the Halloween Screams Fireworks opening night by Asianjma123

Also new this year is a "haunted" version of Tomorrowland beloved attraction. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy - an enhanced version of the one created last year for HKDL - is a scary new experience which begin as a typical Space Mountain adventure but suddenly launch voyagers into an uncharted and haunted section of the universe. Ghosts appear out of the starry darkness and swirling galaxies reaching out as if to grab guests as they speed through space. The exhilarating drops and curves of the journey are punctuated by piercing screams, creepy sound effects and haunting music. The Halloween transformation occurs outside the mountain as well, as frightening images, audio and lights illuminate the Space Mountain exterior. You can see a video of the Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy on the Youtube channel of MintCrocodile.

Jack Skellington of course also returns to take over the Haunted Mansion and bring back Haunted Mansion Holiday to New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Jack’s return to the Haunted Mansion includes the traditional Halloween/Christmas gingerbread house in the Mansion Ballroom, but with some special spooky surprises in this year’s design.

All pictures: copyright Disney

Video: copyright Asianjma123 whom i thanks a lot.

Hong Kong Disneyland Halloween Parade Video

Hong Kong Disneyland have a great Halloween Parade and thanks to the video below released by HKDL you'll be able to have a look to the "devilish" floats!

Pictures andvideo: copyright Disney

Thursday, September 24, 2009

D&M Exclusive Report : Tokyo Disney Sea's " Turtle Talk " Pictures by Yumiko Murata

"Turtle Talk" (with Crush) is the brand new attraction at Tokyo Disney Sea and it will open October 1st, but here at Disney and more, thanks to D&M correspondant in Tokyo Yumi Murata who was at the press event yesterday we already have all the pictures to show you (yeah, i know, we're good!), so there we go, and double click on each to see the pictures in big size!

Turtle Talk is located at the American Waterfront inside the Columbia ship, and i must say that it's a genius idea, you'll see why in a few seconds.

As usual at Tokyo Disney sea, WDI Imagineers did a fantastic job of theming. Turtle Talk is not a E-Ticket, but they did a great queue decor, a great pre-show and a more than perfect decor inside the show theatre. Here is the entrance, outside the Columbia.

Guests enter then inside the Columbia and here is the queue decor which looks beautiful.

It's time now to enter inside the pre-show of the attraction.

Let's have a closer look at the decor of the pre-show room and especially to the sea animals visuals displayed on the walls.

This next picture introduce a genius idea: Although we're in 2009 we must not forget that the "time" of all the American Waterfront land is supposed to be early century. So the Imagineers found this excellent idea to justify the principle of the attraction: "The invention of the century: Hydrophone allows us to talk with fish!"

And the pre-show movie follow this concept as the movie is supposed to have been filmed early last century. It shows first how the "Hydrophone" is working and then a little girl talking to a turtle with this invention. What a perfect introduction to the show.

Then it's time to enter the show theatre - the Columbia "Undersea Observatory" - and look at this great theming! Everything from the lights to the whole decor is fantastic. AND the best idea is the screen which looks like a "window" of the ship looking on the sea - and i remind you that at TDS the real sea is just behind (or almost) the Columbia!

Guests enter the the way, look at the incredible high-definition of the screen...stunning.

...and "on with the show"! You all know the principle of the attraction, so i don't think it's necessary to explain what is happening...however, have a closer look at the picture below and you'll see that a supposedly "real" Hydrophone is located inside the theater on the left side of the screen.

Here comes Crush!

Ooops! Here comes a whale...

A last goodbye to Crush before we exit the attraction...

And the Imagineers didn't forgot to theme the exit too!

Outside, guests can find some Turtle Talk merchandise.

The cost of Turtle Talk - officially announced by Oriental Land - is approximately ¥1.3 billion, more or less US$13.1 million. We all know that WDI attractions are expensive but when i see this quality of theming for a "C" Ticket attraction, i can't stop thinking that the money was well used and that WDI Imagineers are simply the best. Lucky Japanese!

All pictures: copyright Yumi Murata and Disney and more

Have a look to Yumiko Murata and Paul Hsu web site about Entertainment called Premiereport !

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat