The Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development team is developing a very short but freely mobile robot that can play the part of small characters in films.
According to Disney, the robotic actor can walk, gesture, and emote according to whatever is needed at the time. Their first prototype is a really adorable Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Using custom authoring tools that combine whole-body motion planning and traditional character animation, artists can quickly bring robotic characters to life with expressive motions and interactive behaviors. There are no immediate plans for use in Disney theme parks; however, a prototype in the form of Groot is being used to test unique traits, gaits, and capabilities.