In "Big Hero 6," the latest 3-D animated film from Disney, the titular hero is a robot — but not the hard, metal kind most people associate with the word. It's a soft robot, a sort of vaguely human-shaped bag of gas. Sound far-fetched? Turns out there's more than a little science at work here.
The whole idea of Baymax, the caretaker robot in the movie, in fact, occurred to co-director Don Hall during a visit to Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, where you can find everything from snake-bots to crocodile-bots to bot swarms — to the inflatable robotic arm that inspired Hall.