Disney’s “Papillon” technology 3D-prints fiber optics to create animated eyes for interactive toys.

No matter how endearing, children’s toys always have the slight capacity to be creepy, mainly due to their glass, ever-staring eyes. But Disney Research and Carnegie Mellon have been working closely together on new technology, Papillon, that uses 3D printed optical fibers to create eyes capable of a multitude of expression.

The eyes use Disney’s printed optics technology, and built from a bundle of 3D-printed optical fibers which bend and direct light to the surface of the character’s eye, looking much like a video projection. Cartoons’ eyes tend to be ultra-animated – from dollar signs to express greed and hearts to express love – and Papillon would allow toys to have similar expression.  Eric Brockmeyer, a Disney Research associate working on the project explains:

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