Robots To Control Cruise Experience

When Royal Caribbean looked to take their trademark ‘Wow’ onboard experience to the next level, the result was an entirely new class of ships that are set to take a quantum leap forward this November.  When namesake Quantum of the Seas debuts, onboard will be new features never before attempted at sea including North Star, a jewel-like capsule that elevates passengers to more than 300 feet above sea level; RipCord by iFly, the first sky diving wind tunnel at sea;  bumper cars; a roller rink and more. All interesting new features, sure to draw attention and have cruise travelers lined up for a ride on both Quantum of the Seas and sister-ship Athem of the Seas, also under construction.  

But looking aft on Oasis-class, the last wow-worthy generation of ships and the world’s largest, the question must have come up:  ‘What can we do that will be as unique as the popular Aqua Theater that stems off the Oasis-class boardwalk area?  

For that, they turned to robots.

Naming the area Two70°,  the aft area of Quantum-class ships will be a multi-level great room named for its magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls spanning almost three decks at the stern of the ship.  A living room by day, Two70° transforms to an entertainment center by night, blending live performances with cutting-edge visual technology, highlighted by six robotic screens attached to a gantry above the main stage.

Today, we received more detail on those screens from their manufacturer.

ABB Robotics is a leading supplier of industrial robots for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, and more for the automotive, plastics, metal fabrication and other industries.

How It Works
Called ‘RoboScreens” the graphical displays are mounted to the arm of an ABB articulated arm robot, which creates a unique viewer experience.  Bringing virtually unlimited, 6-axis movement to the video media, the Two70° RoboScreens feature six ABB IRB 6620 robots, each holding a 100” diagonal Daktronics LED screen.

Hidden in the ceiling while not in use, during shows in Two70° the RoboScreens will extend down on the gantry to a position above the stage, displaying unique video and imagery while performing choreographed movements, all custom produced for the specific performance.

No Stranger To Entertainment
While the technology has been perfected in more than 200,000 industrial robots worldwide, RoboScreens first gained prominence in 2010 when five large models travelled the globe as main stage props for the Bon Jovi Circle Tour. They have since added visual intrigue to a concert tour by Kis-My-Ft2, a Japanese Pop band; the Las Vegas house show for deadmau5, world famous music producer and performer; and the Ultra-Music Festival in Miami. The RoboScreens being installed on the Quantum Class ships will be the first on any sort of moving vessel.

What To Expect At Sea
The six Royal Caribbean RoboScreens will provide a high-tech visual enhancement to live performances in Two70°, moving in preprogrammed synchronization to the show’s music and dance. The RoboScreens will periodically assemble in various formations, such as six screens in a row to form one continuous, long screen; a three by two stack to form one big square screen; or a serpentine row, much like a ‘W’ and a ‘V’ strung together. When the screens are together they can display one large cohesive video or image, and when they are apart they can display individual, coordinated images that virtually jump from screen to screen. The combined choreography of screen movement and innovative on-screen display provides an extraordinary accessory to the entertainment experience.

A Unique Installation
On Oasis-ships, movement is considered in many performances, especially those in the AquaTheater when high diving swimmers could end up in the wrong place at the wrong time if the ship moved before they reached the pool below.  The complexity of the RoboScreen project is also magnified by the challenges that are presented by installing robots on a ship, safely withstanding the natural rolling movement and the varying seas the ship will routinely encounter.

“The challenge of installing robots on a ship are from the natural pitch and roll that occurs in varying  magnitude from normal to moderate to rough seas,” said Hunt.  “To minimize the effects of this motion, the robots will have well defined thresholds for varying sea conditions.”

This video gives a bit more detail on what to expect

The Quantum of the Seas is scheduled to launch in November of this year, and Anthem of the Seas will launch in April 2015.


Flickr photo by 20after4