Article from LA Times - March 2, 2007
The audio-animatronic Muppets roam a Disney theme park "seeing" and "talking" to visitors
Full story available here: The audio-animatronic Muppets roam a Disney theme park "seeing" and "talking" to visitorsWatch out, Mickey Mouse. The Muppets may be sneaking up on you.
Walt Disney Imagineering this week debuted its latest, cutting-edge creation: free-roaming, interacting audio-animatronic Muppets capable of "seeing" and "talking" to tourists — and without a human puppeteer in sight.
Disney's most advanced robotic creation to date makes the costumed, mute Winnie the Poohs and Donald Ducks seem like felt-covered relics, though Disney executives are quick to reassure that the beloved, autograph-signing cast isn't going anywhere.
"This is an incredibly compelling and powerful way to experience the characters," said Bruce Vaughn, vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering's research and development division.
"They are fully aware of the people in their presence and can call you by name. It is a 100% live experience."