Disney Backs Software Research Labs

Los Angeles-based Disney has launched an effort to back two computer science and technology labs, as part of an effort to get top technology universities to conduct research and development for the company. According to Disney, it has launched global research and development labs with Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. Both are well known for their computer science research efforts. Disney said the two labs will conduct R&D for its Parks & Resorts division, Disney Media Networks, ESPN, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney Interactive Media Group and Pixar Animation Studios. Disney said it will fund a director and seven to eight principal investors for five years at each lab; the labs will focus on computer animation, computational cinematography, autonomous interactive characters, robotics and user interfaces, along with other areas. Financial details of the effort were not disclosed.