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Disney Taps Mind Control, Robotics Startups for Accelerator Program

Mind control, robotic prosthetics and virtual pop stars are just some of the things that Disney is funding as part of its 2015 Disney Accelerator program, which the company is once again organizing in partnership with Techstars.

Disney announced the 10 participants of its class of 2015 on Thursday, and the list includes some pretty far-out tech: Imperson is working on virtual replicas of real-life pop stars, making it possible for anyone to chat with a star that’s entirely powered by artificial intelligence. Open Bionics is using 3D printing technology to build affordable robotic hands for amputees. And Emotiv is building a headset that reads brainwaves and makes it possible to control virtual and real objects with your mind.

Some of the other participants include Fem, a  company that is measuring the emotional response to online videos, personalized toy maker Makielab and virtual reality content aggregator Littlstar.

All startups participating in the accelerator will receive up to  $120,000 in funding, as well as mentorship from thought leaders across the company, including CEO Bob Iger himself. Plus there’s a chance for the companies to gain Disney as a real customer: Some of the participants in last year’s Disney Accelerator have gone on to build apps and ad campaigns for the Mouse.

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