[Hands-on] Disney Heroes: Battle Mode, a boring auto-brawler with a kid-friendly theme

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PerBlue Entertainment’s Disney Heroes: Battle Mode is an upcoming free-to-play hero collection auto-brawler that takes advantage of both Disney and Pixar licenses for its theme. I have been able to get my hands on a working pre-release version, so I figured why not give some insight on what this game has to offer before it officially releases so that our readers will have a good idea what to expect. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on the beta of Disney Heroes: Battle Mode.

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‘Disney Heroes: Battle Mode’ is a Free to Play ARPG Featuring The Incredibles, Wreck-It Ralph, and More, Pre-Registration Now Live

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It seems like all of the most popular movie characters all have their very own free to play mobile game, and now Disney and its subsidiary Pixar are making sure that their characters can get in on the fun too. Disney Heroes: Battle Mode is a forthcoming free to play action RPG starring characters from both Disney and Pixar movies like The Incredibles, Wreck-It Ralph, and Pirates of the Caribbean. If you’ve played any number of similar free to play ARPGs over the years, you probably already know what to expect. More than 30 playable characters to unlock and transform by way of upgrading, as well as all the necessary gear and abilities (also upgradeable, natch) to equip them for success. We all kind of know the drill here, but if you enjoy these games and you’re a big fan of Disney and Pixar movies, then Disney Heroes does look quite promising.

You may recall that Disney partnered up with four established mobile development studios back in January of this year, and as Disney Heroes is developed by one of those partners in PerBlue, this will be the first fruit of that new initiative. If you’re interested in everything you’re seeing so far, you can actually head over to the official website for Disney Heroes and sign up for a pre-registration mailing list for either iOS or Android, which will net you one free hero when the game officially launches. Furthermore, the Android version is up for pre-registration right on the Google Play Store so you can opt to go that route if you wish. No specific release date has been announced but you can expect Disney Heroes: Battle Mode to launch on iOS and Android later this year.

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Disney researches safe human-robot interactions

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human-robot intereactions - disney research

Disney has published new research in human-robot interaction. Its focus is to explore how to make robots move in a way that encourages human beings to cooperate with them, and develop better human-machine rapport.

Part of human nature is to make snap judgements based on aesthetics. It’s a trait with obvious evolutionary benefits: determining threats before they get too close aids any species’ survival. This is why robot posture and movement will be increasingly significant for their future development and acceptance in the workplace.

In short, nobody wants to work alongside, or interact with, machines that look intimidating or dangerous. This is why many humanoid robots, such as Aldebaran/SoftBank’s NAO and Pepper machines, are designed to be small, non-threatening, and almost childlike. The manufacturers’ aim in those cases is to make human beings protective of robots, particularly ones that appear to express emotions.

The same principle applies to all types of robots, including ‘cobot’ machines that are designed to work alongside people in factories or warehouses, and even in hospitals or restaurants.

Read more: Flipping hell! Flippy the burger-bot too fast for human workers

Reading robot body language

Disney’s new research explores human-to-robot handovers by varying the robot’s body language. The team wanted to examine how changes in a robot’s behaviour, posture, and movement, would influence human participation.

The study found that the robot’s initial pose made a difference to the fluency and efficiency of the overall handover of a task, either from machine to human, or vice versa. The speed of the robot and its grasping method also had an impact.

According to the researchers, “This effect may occur by changing the giver’s perception of object safety and hence their release timing. Alternatively, it may stem from unnatural or mismatched robot movements.”

The key to more fluent interactions? Making the robot predictable, says Disney. Participants in the study also reported less discomfort and more “emotional warmth” as they became more familiar with the robot’s behaviour.

“We find these results exciting, as we believe a robot can become a trusted partner in collaborative tasks,” wrote the researchers, Matthew Pan and Elizabeth Croft of the University Of British Columbia and Monash University respectively.

Read more: DHL US trials robots, AI, AR & crowdsourcing to beat Amazon

Building rapport with robots

The most obvious conclusion of the study is that it’s possible for humans to build a kind of rapport with their robotic counterparts. While it may seem superficial, any effective partnership depends on both parties being comfortable with the arrangement. This is particularly the case when performing manual tasks.

Research such as this could lay the foundations for best practices in robot design and manufacturing. Making robots ‘affable; and predictable is a big step toward convincing human workers that lending an artificial hand is something to be embraced, not intimidated by.

Internet of Business says

The need for human beings to feel safe around robots, and even to enjoy working with them, will be a vital consideration in the future, as robots of every kind move into the workplace. If ‘cobots’ are to collaborate with people successfully in manual labour settings of any type, then human beings must feel valued and understood, and equally, must value and appreciate their machine colleagues.

The same principal applies to humanoid robots, and perhaps especially to ones that are designed to both understand and express or simulate human emotions.

A seminar at London’s Design Museum in January 2018, jointly presented by psychologist and writer Adriana Hamacher, and Internet of Business editor Chris Middleton, shared a number of stories about how people will form bonds with humanoid robots, and even lie to an emotion-expressing robot in order not to hurt its feelings.

Hamacher’s own research programme was reported here in 2016, and proves that emotional bonds between humans and machines can be genuine, and often surprising. Her study concluded that people often prefer working with robots that are expressive to ones that are merely efficient.

The post Disney researches safe human-robot interactions appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Disney is already setting up its Star Wars expansion land in a new Grand Admiral Thrawn novel

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We’re still far away from the 2019 opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the twin expansion lands that will be opening at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but the narrative groundwork for the new parks is already being quietly set up. Specifically, the new novel Thrawn: Alliances from Timothy Zahn will send Darth Vader and the Grand Admiral together on a mission to Batuu, which io9 notes is the same planet that will serve as the setting for Galaxy’s Edge.

Disney hasn’t revealed too much about the planet — only that it’s a remote trading port, and “one of the last stops before Wild Space” — but taking the chance to build out the lore before the park opens is a smart way to get fans interested ahead of time. Thrawn is already a…

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Disney is bringing ‘immersive’ Marvel lands to its theme parks

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Disney’s theme parks are about to get a lot more Marvel superheroes. After the successful launch of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! ride last year, the company has announced that it will be bringing more Marvel properties to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, along with expanded experiences at both Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.

According to Marvel, a new “completely immersive Super Hero universe” will be coming to the Disney’s California Adventure park, taking over the space currently occupied by a land inspired by Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. (The “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” attraction closed earlier this week, with the rest of the land to shutter in the summer.) There’s not too much information about what will…

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Samsung’s Galaxy S9 gets Disney AR Emojis at launch

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I wasn’t alone in suggesting that Samsung’s Animoji competitors were, well, creepy. AR Emojis sit firmly in the uncanny valley between face scans and cartoon characters — generally lacking the adorableness of Apple’s offering. They have, however, had one saving grace: Disney, the entertainment company that essentially owns all of your best childhood memories. 

Samsung teased the partnership this month at Mobile World Congress, during the big Galaxy S9 launch, but didn’t offer much in the way of specifics. There is, however, some good news on the front. Disney’s AR Emojis will be available at launch for the S9 and S9+ — which, as it so happens, is today.

Right now, only Mickey and Minnie are available, accessible to phone buyers as a free download.  More character offerings from such blockbuster films as The Incredibles, Zootopia and Frozen will be made available before the end of the year.

The decision to go with Samsung is no doubt a sore spot for Apple, which has had a tight partnership with Disney for decades, including numerous product crossovers and shared board members. But the entertainment giant is no doubt looking to spread the love. The company also recently licensed Star Wars characters for some very Porg-y Pixel 2 AR stickers.

“By extending our characters and stories to new digital platforms,” Disney VP John Love said in a release tied to the announcement, “we are creating daily Disney experiences everywhere our audience goes, and we are able to draw in new generations of fans.”

The S9 hits the market today, priced starting at $ 720.

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Disney forges new streaming video division in prep for services like ESPN+

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As part of a larger reorganization, Disney on Wednesday announced the creation of a new division for its streaming video and international operations, which will oversee two upcoming video services: ESPN+, and the company’s as-yet-unnamed family-friendly offering.
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Disney theme parks are now on Google Maps Street View

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You know what’s fun? Going to a Disney theme park. You know what’s even more fun? Being paid to go to a Disney theme park. That’s what a few lucky Google employees got to do, because the company announced today that eleven Disney parks have been mapped on Street View. This includes Walt Disney World, California Adventures, Disneyland Paris, and others.

The Magic Kingdom theme park (Street View paths in green)

Google offers a gallery of highlighted locations here, but if you search for any park on Google Maps and hold down on the Street View button (the orange guy in the bottom-right corner of the web app), you can navigate around yourself.

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Google’s Street View comes to Disney parks

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Google on Tuesday announced that the popular street-level photography feature available on its Maps service now covers eleven Disney-operated theme parks in the United States…. Read the rest of this post here


Google’s Street View comes to Disney parks” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Google adds Disney parks to Street View

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Last year Google revamped its Street View cameras to help us better map the real world, now it's taken the technology to a much more magical land. From today, you'll be able to explore inside 11 Disney Parks, getting an on-the-ground glimpse of all i…
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