The Circle Tour

RoboScreen powered Bon Jovi concert tour

Bon Jovi on a RoboScreen staircase 

Introduction:  In 2010 andyRobot licensed the RoboScreen® technology to Bon Jovi for The Circle Tour. [1] The global tour launched in February of 2010 in Seattle and included five ABB® IRB 7600 industrial robots. The robots were fitted with 6x9’ LED video panels and were positioned to the rear of the stage. The panels displayed real time video and animation sequences while moving to the music and creating dynamic stage props including individual stairs leading to an elevated performance platform and a continuous five panel video screen.

Artistic Design Objectives: The objective of this design was to create an over the top entertainment experience suitable to one of the biggest and most elaborate arena rock tours of the time. Known for stadium size rock and roll spectacles, Bon Jovi’s show designer TAIT recruited ABB and andyRobot to design the robotic entertainment elements for the tour. Named, The Circle tour, the stage was circular with the audience on all sides and the robots allowed the video panels to be moved dynamically and to face the audience in 360 degrees.[2]

 

Designed to promote the 2009 release of the album, The Circle, the artistic design of the performance stage and concert experience sought to bring that metaphor to life by using circular elements including an elliptical stage with audience on all sides. The five RoboScreens were placed to form a continuous circular screen behind the band and  were also programmed to spin around to face the audience to the side of and behind the band. Each robot moved a custom designed LED panel that weighs 700 lb and is comprised of 24 individual sub-panels arranged in a six column by four row grid.[3] The screens were fed by multiple cameras set up throughout the concert venue and that footage was mixed with a combination of pre-programmed 3D graphics and fully rendered, real time effects synched to the beat of the music.

 

Bon Jovi performances are known for over the top stage shows, lighting and video effects and to achieve a new level of entertainment theatrics for this tour, designers used the largest ABB IRB 7600 robots with a custom built matrix of video screens combined to provide a 6’ x 9’ video image for each of the robots to manipulate. A clear layer of Perspex plastic was placed over the screen to allow them to be positioned in the form of a staircase and climbed on by the performer without damaging the displays. The robot motion, programmed using the inverse kinematics capabilities of Robot Animator was leveraged to create life like synchronized motion for each song performed by the band. Custom robot motion was developed to enhance the performance of specific songs such as positioning the screens in the shape of smiles and frowns. As described by andyRobot, "We were able to take the ABB robots out of the factory and turn them into rock stars mainly through the power of the IRC5 controller and its ability to accept the precise movement established in Robot Animator. The programming we are doing for The Circle Tour could bring a totally new thought pattern to be used in advanced manufacturing applications in the future. This entertainment application may allow it to break through.” [4]

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Development and Implementation: TAIT’s creative team developed the stage, the show and the logistical elements required to move the production from location to location using AutoCad and 3DS Max to model each element, including how they are packaged for transport and how they are unpacked and assembled for a performance. A control panel was created to manage the programmed moves and at showtime an operator presses the Go button to trigger the motion sequence for a specific song. Safety features were critical for the setup due to the close proximity of performers to the robots. Some of the safety features added included spotters and warning lights for areas to avoid on stage. Additionally, emergency stop buttons were placed around the safety area and guards were instructed to keep people away from those areas. When the screens are positioned to create a staircase for Bon Jovi, the power to the robots was locked to prevent any movement at all while the performer was on the RoboScreens.[5] 

References: 

 

[1] Kirchen, R. (2011, May 20). Milwaukee native animates Bon Jovi ’bots. Bizjournals.com. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/blog/2011/05/milwaukee-native-animates-bon-jovi.html

 

[2] Staff, D. (2010, March 16). ABB Robots Rock With Bon Jovi. Design News. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.designnews.com/content/abb-robots-rock-bon-jovi/150691736738676

 

[3] Lovy, H. (2010, May 5). Xconomy: Motown Robots Rock With Bon Jovi. Xconomy. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://xconomy.com/detroit-ann-arbor/2010/05/05/motown-robots-rock-with-bon-jovi/

 

[4] Staff, R. (2013, February 14). ABB Robotics+Bon Jovi=RoboScreen - Robotics Business Review. Robotics Business Review. Retrieved January 7, 2020, from https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/rbr/abb_roboticsbon_joviroboscreen/

 

[4] Hoske, M. (2010, March 2). 5 ABB IRB 7600 Robots Take The Stage With Bon Jovi For Band’s Historic Circle Tour. Controlengeurope.com. Retrieved January 8, 2020, from https://www.controlengeurope.com/article/31946/5-ABB-IRB-7600-robots-take-the-stage-with-Bon-Jovi-for-band-s-historic-Circle-Tour.aspx

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