We’re eagerly awaiting the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday, and not just because we think Neil Patrick Harris will be a blast as the host. We’ll also be rooting for “Big Hero 6,” which was nominated for best animated feature, and Julianne Moore, who earned a nod for best actress in “Still Alice,” because of the moving stories about helpful tech behind the two films.
Our writer Angela Dawson did a fantastic job writing about the “soft” robots in “Big Hero 6” and how Richard Glatzer, who has ALS, used his iPad to co-direct “Still Alice.” We wanted to share these stories with you again in case you missed them the first time around. They’re both great reads heading into the Oscars.
Why ‘Big Hero 6’ Brought a Robotics Professor to Tears
“Big Hero 6” is what you’d expect from a Disney movie. It has a lot of humor, a lot of action and a lot of heart. Perfectionists that they are, the filmmakers met with various scientists, physicists and engineers to get the details right. Among the experts they spoke to was Chris Atkeson, a professor at the Robotics Institute and Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.
Atkeson explained to co-director Don Hall and some of the other visiting Disney animators that “soft” robots are being developed in the Institute’s lab. Someday a soft robot like Baymax, designed to help humans, may become a reality.
Contacted by Not Impossible Now, Atkeson discussed his role as one of the robot consultants on the film, what’s happening in the field of “soft robotics” and why he “cried five times during the movie.” Read the full story.
Afflicted by ALS, ‘Still Alice’ Co-Director Persevered With Help From His iPad
Filmmaking poses considerable hurdles without having the added obstacle of coping with the debilitating effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
For director Richard Glatzer, the frightening diagnosis didn’t present a barrier but a challenge.
In early 2011, a neurologist diagnosed the award-winning American filmmaker with the disease after he noticed he was slurring his speech. The following months found Glatzer and his filmmaking partner and spouse Wash Westmoreland trying to come to terms with the physical and emotional repercussions of it.
Robbed of his ability to speak, Glatzer used his iPad to co-direct Julianne Moore in an Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance in “Still Alice.” Read the full story.
Read More Oscar Related Coverage