Dis funds R&D labs for next-gen technologies


Disney is going to college. The company said Monday that it is underwriting research and development labs at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

The R&D labs will conduct work in computer animation, computational cinematography, autonomous interactive characters, robotics and user interfaces that can be used at Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Disney's Parks & Resorts division, Disney Media Networks, ESPN, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and Disney Interactive Media Group.

"Creating the next generation of sophisticated technologies requires long-term vision and collaboration with world-class innovators," Ed Catmull, president, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, said.

Joe Marks, vp R&D at Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, is leading the launch and will oversee the labs.

Each lab represents a five-year commitment to fund a director and seven to eight principal investigators. Additional staff will include professors, scientific consultants and collaborators.