Bloomingdale’s Festive Holiday Display 

Celebrating An Out of this World Holiday

Robots decorating a Christmas Tree in the window at Bloomingdale's Festive Holiday Display

Introduction:  In 2019 andyRobot collaborated with Bloomingdale’s and ABB® to bring three holiday themed robotic entertainment installations to the iconic annual holiday celebration at their 59th Street flagship store in New York City. Celebrating an, “Out of this World Holiday,” 12 ABB robots were the main attraction in the street facing windows including an autonomous christmas tree decoration display, a holiday themed robot orchestra and a RoboScreen® powered christmas carol karaoke window.[1] The unique installations ran continuously from November 22 through January 3, 2020 and were monitored and maintained remotely using ABB Ability™ Connected Services technology to provide real time video, system monitoring and remote control capabilities.[2]

Artistic Design Objectives:  An exploration of how robotics technologies can be applied in a retail environment drove the objective of engaging shoppers through unique holiday themed visual and interactive experiences powered by the excitement of human-robot interaction.[3] The tradition of decorating a Christmas tree with ornaments such as glass or metal spheres inspired the design of the Autonomous Christmas Tree Decorating display. The graceful and intricate collaboration demonstrated by the robots highlights our desires to be together for the holidays. The Festive Robot Orchestra derives from the Christmas tradition of communal folk songs sung during holiday celebrations formed the inspiration for this installation. The objective is to create a highly engaging and dynamic viewer experience which, in this case, inspires window shoppers on the street to participate in the festive singalong. The tradition of groups singing carols is highlighted in the third display and leverages the popular karaoke format and allows the audience to see the lyrics displayed karaoke style in the RoboScreen powered Christmas Carol Karaoke window. 

The design goal is to bring festive cheer to the audience as well as to inspire awe and promote visions for human robot interaction in future retail environments. As described by Marc Segura, ABB’s Global Head of Service Robotics, “Our demonstrations in Bloomingdales show how robotics can make visual merchandising more dynamic and engaging. In the future, retailers could use robotics to create innovative mediums to interact with customers, demonstrate products and engage at the point-of-sale with far more appeal and relevance than traditional static point-of-sale displays.”[4]

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Development and Implementation:  For the Autonomous Christmas Tree Decorating display, two floor-mounted and two ceiling-mounted IRB 120 robots coordinate their movements to pass 20 gold ornaments to each other, placing them on the branches, before stripping the tree and starting the 30-minute process again. The end effector of each robot is equipped with a suction cup allowing the robots to pick and pass spherical ornaments and carefully place them on custom holders positioned on the branches of the tree. The robots work together to completely place all of the ornaments and then to take them off, repeating the cycle every 30 minutes. 

The Festive Robot Orchestra consists of four ABB IRB 1200 robots playing brass shakers, a tambourine, a concert chime and a futuristic digital xylophone to entertain shoppers with a range of Christmas carols. Visitors to Bloomingdales can interact with the robot performers from the street and choose from three holiday classics: ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’, while pressing a button on the window takes a picture of the visitors which appears on a video monitor behind the robot band inside the window display. In the third display, a RoboScreen® Christmas Carol Karaoke window, shoppers can select from a range of holiday songs, with the lyrics appearing on three moving 38” RoboScreens screens powered by three IRB 120 robots.

All of the robots at Bloomingdales are being monitored remotely 24 hours a day using ABB Ability™ Connected Services technology. This sophisticated system remotely monitors and analyzes intelligence directly from the robots, allowing technicians to identify and address potential issues that could lead to an unplanned stoppage before it occurs. As andyRobot® states, “We have harnessed the excitement of human-robot interaction at Bloomingdale’s to engage shoppers through a unique visual experience and to explore how robotics technologies could be applied in a retail environment.”[5]

Robot revelers play festive holiday music for the crowds

ABB robots ring in the holiday season at Bloomingdale’s iconic New York flagship store

References: 

 

[1] Hoffman, B. (2019, November 29). NYC Christmas Windows: Your Guide To The Best Holiday Displays. New York Post. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from https://nypost.com/2019/11/29/nyc-christmas-windows-your-guide-to-the-best-holiday-displays/

 

[2] TAO, M. (2019, December 4). ABB Robots Ring In The Holiday Season At Bloomingdale’s Iconic New York Flagship Store. Robotics & Automation News. Retrieved December 19, 2019, from https://roboticsandautomationnews.com/2019/12/04/abb-robots-ring-in-the-holiday-season-at-bloomingdales-iconic-new-york-flagship-store/27167/

 

[3] (2019d, December 3). ABB Robots Ring In The Holiday Season At Bloomingdale’s Iconic New York Flagship Store. new.abb.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from https://new.abb.com/news/detail/51182/abb-robots-ring-in-the-holiday-season-at-bloomingdales-iconic-new-york-flagship-store

 

[4] Staff. (2019a, December 3). ABB Robots Ring In The Holiday Season At Bloomingdale’s Iconic New York Flagship Store | RoboticsTomorrow. Roboticstomorrow.com. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from https://www.roboticstomorrow.com/news/2019/12/03/abb-robots-ring-in-the-holiday-season-at-bloomingdales-iconic-new-york-flagship-store-/14503/

 

[5] Staff. (2019b, December 3). Bloomingdale’s Holiday Festivities At Flagship Store Include ABB Robots. The Robot Report. Retrieved January 9, 2020, from https://www.therobotreport.com/bloomingdales-holiday-festivities-flagship-store-abb-robots/

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