ABB robots rock-out on stage with Bon Jovi

Five ABB industrial robots have been used on-stage at singer Bon Jovi’s opening concert, held in Sydney on December 19.

Five ABB industrial robots have been used on-stage at singer Bon Jovi’s opening concert, held in Sydney on December 19.

The IRB 7600 robots were positioned towards the back of the stage, each with a 6’ x 9’ LED video panel attached to their articulated arm. The robots and screens were choreographed to move in sync to the music while displaying real time video footage of the show and digital animations. At various intervals the five robot arms moved into a formation where the LED panels become one continuous, five panel screen.

ABB said the creative concept that brought the robots to life on stage was a patented technology called RoboScreen, developed by Andy Flessas, the founder and president of Robotic Arts of Las Vegas.

The robots were precisely choreographed with the music and the onstage production by a software program extension that enables 3D computer animation called Robot Animator. The proprietary software, also developed by Mr Flessas, provided a separate interface to animate the movement of the ABB robots as if they were on-screen characters. Once the desired movement is established Robot Animator channels the code directly into ABB’s robot controller and the robots replicate the movement on stage.

Mr Flessas said the programming of the robots used for Bon Jovi’s opening concert could potentially lead to advanced manufacturing applications in the future.

“We were able to take the ABB robots out of the factory and turn them into rock stars mainly through the power of the ABB IRC5 controller and its ability to accept the precise movement established in Robot Animator,” Flessas said.

“This entertainment application may allow it to break through.”

ABB’s IRB 7600 robots will accompany Bon Jovi’s two-year long trip, “The Circle Tour,” which currently features 60 concerts across North America and Europe; the band’s longest tour since the late 1980s.

The Circle Tour will be second time that ABB robots have been used in the entertainment industry. In 2009, the company’s robots featured in the movie, Terminator Salvation, starring Christian Bale.