Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maker Faire

On Friday and Saturday, a few of us Imagineers ventured up to the San Francisco area for the Maker Faire. It's basically a bunch of do-it-yourselfers geeking out with each other.

Anyway, Imagineering went up there to showcase some of the cool technologies we're working on as part of Maker Faire's education day for kids.

One thing we showed is a cool trick whereby a webcam captures video of your face, which is then projected back onto this model of a human head. The effect is kind of like a really bizarre 3D mirror. It was definitely popular with kids.

Another technology we're showed is a 360-degree camera. Once upon a time (a couple weeks ago) it was attached to one the ride boats for the It's A Small World ride at Disneyland. The cool thing about this video is that, though it is all prerecorded, you can still pan around within the video as if you were controlling a normal camera live.

But the most popular technology we demoed was the FLIR infrared camera. It can see heat instead of normal visible light. It costs about $35,000, so we didn't let any of the kids touch it, but they could see themselves glow bright on the screen. One cool thing is that if you touch the wall with your hand for a couple seconds, it actually heats up the wall, leaving an imprint for a little bit.

Friday was the education day, and on Saturday the main fair started. Upon entering the fairgrounds, one couldn't help but notice the giant rocketship in the middle.

A commonly-recurring theme throughout the day was crazy vehicles.

Robots were another common sighting.

Not to mention the obligatory R2 droids.

These aren't the chickens you're looking for...

There were a bunch of fun wood "sculptures" that anyone could bend into their desired shape. (Puppy!)

One group had a shadow-detecting projection. I only mention it because we've done much more interesting stuff at the ETC.

Another group had a cool tank combat video game, but not quite as cool as Tanky-Tank.

There were a bunch of wild-and-crazy art pieces.

And some human-powered carnival rides.

Lastly, there were a couple of awesome musical devices...

One was a mechanical percussion instrument:

And the other was a musical instrument using giant Tesla coils! The notes you hear are simple electrical current flowing from the coils. (Yes, there's a person in the cage between the two coils.)


On Monday morning I had an appointment to hand in my paperwork for my internship at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Apparently, L.A. is not always warm and sunny.
Note from Future Walt: I have now spent over a year of my life in total living in LA, and I can't remember it ever since being this dreary.

The WDI buildings are very nondescript. Here's where I had my appointment:

Indeed, this is the only hint of Disney I could find anywhere outside the gated areas:

The inside of the WDI Creative building is full of artwork, concept paintings, models, and lots more. It's really cool. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to take pictures inside.

On Tuesday was Disney orientation for new interns. It was pretty run-of-the-mill orientation (the history of Disney; the employee guidebook; etc...). We did get to spend a few minutes in the Disney archives...

The Wardrobe, of the Lion and the Witch variety:

Walt Disney... not the world's greatest artist:

While everyone else was gawking at prints from Snow White, I was nerding out with the Nautilus.

I held an Oscar! (Yes, it's heavy.)

This is a machine that animators back in the day used to do parallax of different layers in a shot. They would literally paint a layer onto each of several transparent panes of glass. A camera is positioned at the very top and photographs down through all the panes.

To close out the day, we went on a tour of Disney's studios in Burbank. Unlike nearby Imagineering, the main studios are definitely Disney-themed. Here's a shot of their main administration building, complete with the Seven Dwarfs:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Walt's Adventures in Burbank

Today I moved to Burbank, California. I am interning at Walt Disney Imagineering in nearby Glendale. (I tried to get, but that was already taken by some other, apparently more important, Walt.)

I flew in to teeny little Burbank Airport, complete with outdoor baggage claim. (Actual size image.)

My apartment building is not some large, soulless monstrosity.

My bedroom is a bedroom, but my bed is super comfy, meaning I will definitely have a hard time getting up in the morning.

And my closet pwns.

The dining room has funny little round balls hanging from the ceiling. We could have used them on The Iminintech Project.

My kitchen is finally larger than a closet...

And it has a dishwasher! (Though of apparently questionable effectiveness.)

Then I went exploring!

On my way to downtown Burbank...

I went to my local mall, which had a train ride for kids. (Why don't they make train rides for adults?)

In the mall I happened to spot a (non-functional) Reactrix box, which is apparently similar to the Playmotion we use at the ETC.

And this is my local GameStop. I suspect it will play a crucial role in my summer.

I wrapped up my excursion with my first-ever meal in Burbank!

Stay tuned for more of... Walt's Adventures in Burbank!