Motown Robots Rock With Bon Jovi

5/5/10

With the downturn in the auto industry, industrial robots that assemble car parts are down on their luck. So, like their flesh-and-blood counterparts, robots are looking to diversify. A few metallic laborers from ABB Robotics North America in Auburn Hills, MI, have found a new gig to help make ends meet…as backup dancers for the rock group Bon Jovi, of course.

Five ABB industrial robots, from the IRB 7600 line, are accompanying the band’s two-year-long “The Circle” tour, which began in February. The robots, which resemble a giant muscular arm and fist, move to the rhythm of the music while displaying video of the show and digital animations. Each robot carries a 700-pound panel containing 24 subpanels arranged in a 6-by-4 grid.

The robots’ choreographer is Andy Flessas, who was inspired to create his RoboScreen technology in 2006, when he went through a robotic programming, design, and operation certification program at the ABB training facility in Auburn Hills. He went on to form Robotic Arts, a Las Vegas company that develops and manufactures the RoboScreen technology used in the Bon Jovi tour.

“Andy Flessas is a true visionary and we are excited about the unique application he has developed for ABB robots,” says Joe Campbell, vice president of sales and marketing at ABB in Auburn Hills. “This collaboration with Robotic Arts and Bon Jovi is certainly one of the most unique applications we have been involved with.”

I certainly hope the fame does not go to the 7600s’ robotic heads, causing them to start living that self-destructive rock and roll lifestyle. I can just see the VH-1 “Behind the Music” documentary.

Meanwhile, enjoy the YouTube video below, featuring the robots in action with Bon Jovi. You can see the five RoboScreens in the background, around the middle of the clip, being manipulated by the IRB 7600s.

Those five RoboScreens ™ at the back of the stage, behind Bon Jovi, are manipulated with ABB’s IRB 7600′s.

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