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There’s no business like show business

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26 May 2014



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Robotic Arts, a Las Vegas designer and integrator of robots used in novel ways for entertainment purposes, and Royal Caribbean International, are working together to provide a unique hi-tech robotic entertainment for their newest cruise ships.Royal Caribbean’s new ship Quantum of the Seas is the first of three new 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger ships to debut, launching in November 2014. It has a large multi-story public room fusing together technology and entertainment. During the day the space is an open area living room and bar with 270º views. At night the room transforms into a center of digital scenery, aerial and other entertainment, and 3D prestidigitation.

The room is being designed, planned and outfitted by Robotic Arts and Interior and Space Designers 5+Designs. Five ABB robot arms, each holding 100” LCD monitors, will be utilized. The robot arms will be placed on a moveable gantry and grasp the displays, allowing shipboard technicians and set designers to lower the displays from the ceiling and move them in almost limitless ways. The combination of arms and displays are programmed to move in sync with the aerialists and other nighttime performers to create imaginative performance art, light shows and dazzling digital scenenery. This will create a multilayered, 3D and immersive experience for the audience.

Robotic Arts is a division of Casino Arts whose clients include Wynn and MGM Resorts and NewYorkNewYork. Since 2011 Robotic Arts has partnered with ABB and has collaboratively developed robotic technology into a variety of new venues including performance and event entertainment, sports bars, home theaters, and interactive point-of-purchase advertising. Robotic Arts also has many showbusiness clients including Bon Jovi and deadmau5. Andy Flessas, president of Robotic Arts said of the Quantum of the Seas project:

“The swinging robotic arms take things to an entirely different level. In terms of the world of robotics, other than things that are going on on Mars, this is the most complex robotics project on the planet right now.”

Digital signage (DS) using today’s low-cost thin LCD monitors has been used on Royal Caribbean’s ships before for display signs for the various functions onboard such as menus, hours, directions, etc. But as screens have gotten bigger and cheaper, ad agencies and other designers are all attempting to utilize DS to capture attention in new and inventive ways. DS has progressed from digital advertising on phone and tablet screens, to add to the design of various spaces, to digital billboards, to mobile robots carrying screens, to unseen robots mobilizing huge LCD monitors for performance art, magic shows and rock concerts – and their use will likely continue to additional innovative uses – all in the pursuit of attention.

Competing with ABB in the robotics entertainment marketplace are:

  • KUKA Entertainment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KUKA Robot Group, is providing the robots. Kuka Entertainment provides robots for rides (RoboCoaster), state and event technology, robo TV cameras, and movable digital signage.
  • Bot & Dolly provides synchronized robots for action movies like Gravity (with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney).

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Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.





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