ABB takes concert production innovation to a new level by providing five ABB industrial robots to Bon Jovi’s world tour.
Featuring the patented RoboScreen technology, industrial robots from ABB, the leading power and automation technology group delivered an unprecedented concert experience at Bon Jovi’s ‘The Circle Tour’, which opened at the Sydney Football Stadium in December 2010.
A primary component of the visual intrigue of the show was five ABB industrial robots positioned toward the back of the stage, each with a 6’ x 9’ LED video panel attached to their articulated arm.
The robots and screens were integral to the concert production, moving to the rhythm and beat of 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 became a single continuous, five-panel screen.
ABB’s robots will accompany the nearly two-year long tour covering 60 concerts in North America and Europe, with additional dates likely to be scheduled. This will be the band’s longest tour since the late 1980s.
The creative concept that brings the robots to life on stage is RoboScreen, a patented technology developed by inventor Andy Flessas, the founder and president of Robotic Arts of Las Vegas, NV.
The intelligence that allows the robots to be precisely choreographed with the music and onstage production is Robot Animator, a software program extension that enables 3D computer animation.
The proprietary software developed by Flessas provides 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.
Flessas says that they 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.
He adds that the programming for The Circle Tour could bring a totally new thought pattern to be used in advanced manufacturing applications in the future.
When Jon Bon Jovi and the tour directors were presented the RoboScreen idea, they were initially attracted by the uniqueness of the concept and the physical presence of the IRB 7600 robot. They were sold when they saw the graceful, elegant choreography that could be achieved, and they learned of the vast number of installations and support network that ABB has around the world.
Each IRB 7600 robot is fitted with a custom-designed LED panel that weighs 700 lbs and is comprised of 24 individual sub-panels arranged in a 6-column x 4-row grid. The I-MAG or image magnification footage is fed by multiple cameras set up throughout the concert venue.
The animations that fill the balance of the screen time are a combination of pre-programmed 3D graphics and fully rendered real-time computerised reactions to the beat of the music.
The design and integration of the rigging system that allows the five RoboScreens to fit seamlessly into the touring platform was done by Tait Towers, the world renowned tour production company headquartered in Lititz, PA.
The Circle Tour is the second major entertainment production that ABB robots have been involved with in the span of a year. In 2009, ABB robots were extensively featured in the climactic scene of the ‘Terminator Salvation’ movie starring Christian Bale.
ABB Australia is the Australian operation of the worldwide ABB Group.