Disney Animates Everyone's Fantasies with Computers
Audio-Animatronics, Rides and Special Effects
When Walt Disney died in 1966, he knew little of the computer age that was about to dawn. Nevertheless, many of his creations required high levels of electronic sophistication that computer technology has simplified. "He realized there was something on the horizon that was going to allow him to do some kinds of automation, and he set his people to figuring out way back then how to make a little figure work," explains R. David Snyder, corporate manager of scientific systems for WED Enterprises, the research and development lab for all Disney's operations. Disney's researchers developed a means to make lifelike and imaginative figures move in coordination to sound. Audio-Animatronics (a registered trademark of Walt Disney Productions) began in the early 1950s with mechanical (cam and lever) miniature-scale model figures. Each year brought new levels of sophistication to the system. Today, Snyder uses microprocessor computer technology to run the Audio-Animatronics figures and shows.
Walt Disney Imagineering