Disney Showcases Creativity, Cutting-Edge Technology at 2017 Grace Hopper Conference

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2017 drew more than 18,000 attendees from all over the world.

THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

Across all of Disney's lines of business, technologists and artists work side by side to deliver world-class storytelling and immersive experiences for guests.


The Walt Disney Company (No. 36 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) recently showcased the cutting-edge technology behind some of the latest Disney magic at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) 2017—the world's largest gathering of women technologists — which, this year, drew more than 18,000 attendees from all over the world. More than 100 representatives from a range of businesses and roles across the Company were on hand in Orlando, Florida for three days of technology-focused content that highlights the ever-increasing contributions women are making in the field of computing.

At Disney's booth, Disney technologists demonstrated advances such as Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' Digital Access Point tech, which enhances guests' experience by enabling them to easily and quickly gain entrance into some of our parks and attractions; and the real-time and near-time innovative custom integrated advertising experiences and custom content integration developed by ESPN's Advanced Technology VFX Group. The force of innovation was strong at ILMxLAB's "Trials on Tatooine" virtual reality demo experience and, in one of most talked-about offerings at GHC 2017, more than 3,000 attendees immersed themselves in Disney Research's mixed and augmented reality experience, "Magic Bench."

These demonstrations were presented by some of the talented women who are helping to shape the future of entertainment in their roles at The Walt Disney Company. Erin Ramos, an effects animator for Walt Disney Animation Studios, talked about how animators tackled the challenge of animating shoreline waves in the 2016 feature Moana with a blend of innovative tech and creativity. "At Walt Disney Animation Studios, story always comes first," she said. "Everything we do is in support of that story, whether it be technology we create or software we create."

The conference also provided the opportunity for Disney to meet, interview and extend offers to top female talent in the tech arena. Representatives from all segments—Disney|ABC Television Group, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, ESPN, The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Lucas ILM, and Pixar—met with thousands of candidates throughout the event.

"Disney is a great place for women in technology because you'll find very active and vibrant groups who support you as a technologist," said Mike White, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, who notes that some of the opportunities for technologists at Disney include developing ride technology for Disney parks and resorts, developing games or interactive experiences, or creating the tech behind blockbuster animated films.

"When you have a diverse table, you get diverse opinions and perspectives, and that's what really makes our products great," he says.

The Walt Disney Company sought to connect with women technologists at the start of their career through the "Tech Behind the Magic" experience. This student offering provided scholarships that enabled 20 female tech students from schools that include MIT, USC, Cornell, Georgia Tech and Florida State University to attend GHC 2017.

In addition, the day before the conference, the students enjoyed an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at Walt Disney World where they were given an inside look at the tech that powers the magic Disney creates for guests every day, from demonstrations of mobile ordering and a tour of the immersive land of Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney's Animal Kingdom to the Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot, which features more than 15 advanced Audio-Animatronics figures across 11 immersive scenes.

Technology is essential to the evolution of the media industry, emphasizes Jamie Voris, senior vice president and chief technology officer for The Walt Disney Studios. "The way that we tell and consume stories in the future is going to be completely different than it is today, and I think we have this extraordinary opportunity to have a real participation in shaping what that looks like."

"Our industry is changing, content is changing, the IP that we own is always expanding and we all know that technology is continuously changing," says Susan O'Day, executive vice president, Enterprise Technology and chief information officer for The Walt Disney Company. "At Disney, we really focus on embracing that and not being afraid of that change, but really leaning into it and moving into the future."

Visit DisneyCareers' YouTube Channel to see more of our technologists' stories. To explore open opportunities in technology at Disney, visit DisneyTechJobs.com, and follow DisneyCareers on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Disney's Avengers: Infinity War Crosses $2 Billion Worldwide

Internationally, it is the third highest-grossing release ever with $1.346 billion.

REUTERS

Originally Published by The Walt Disney Company.

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War surpassed the $2 billion mark at the global box office yesterday in its 48th day of release. It's just the fourth film in industry history to reach this milestone, the third to do so in its initial run, and the second to do so from The Walt Disney Studios (joining Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

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Disney Leaders and VoluntEARS Pay a Special Visit to Children's Hospital Los Angeles

The visit is part of Disney's Team of Heroes philanthropic initiative and outreach program focused on Children's Hospitals.

REUTERS

Originally Published by The Walt Disney Company.

The Walt Disney Company's support of children's hospitals dates back to its earliest days, when Walt Disney would visit with young patients, accompanied by Disney characters and animators. The Company continues to be focused on providing comfort and inspiration for kids and families in children's hospitals around the world, and The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger was joined by senior Disney executives to bring Disney magic to patients and their families at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA).

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Disney Research Explores Physics of Acrobatics with “Stickman” Robot

At this year's International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Disney Researchers Günter Niemeyer and Morgan Pope presented "Stickman: Towards a Human-Scale Acrobatic Robot," introducing a z-shaped robot capable of performing somersaulting stunts while flying through the air.

REUTERS

Originally Published by The Walt Disney Company.

From high-wire trapeze acts to Olympic gymnasts leaping from a springboard, acrobatics have historically delighted and challenged athletes and audiences alike. While humans have practiced these techniques for thousands of years, Disney Researchers have been exploring the potential to build robots that can perform such tricks in new and exciting ways.

At this year's International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Disney Researchers Günter Niemeyer and Morgan Pope presented "Stickman: Towards a Human-Scale Acrobatic Robot," introducing a z-shaped robot capable of performing somersaulting stunts while flying through the air.

Equipped with an inertial measurement unit and laser range-finders, Stickman is able to swing from a pendulum, let go and perform a flip – or two – while flying through the air. The sensors allow the robot to evaluate its position in mid-air and adjust its motion. Being able to "see" the ground allows Stickman to determine when to tuck or untuck, and land safely, creating a smooth flip that appears as effortless as a gymnast's dismount.

Stickman is yet another achievement for Disney Research, thanks to the organization's relentless pursuit of scientific and technological innovation to advance The Walt Disney Company. Through this application of physics and technology, Stickman's performance demonstrates the thrilling possibilities Disney Research continues to explore.