Episode 8: Robotics in the Entertainment and Theme Park Industries
In a departure of sorts for Orange Intelligenz, the spotlight on robotics shifted from manufacturing processes to the world of entertainment.
Orange Intelligenz: Robotics in the Entertainment and Theme Park Industries
In a departure of sorts for Orange Intelligenz, the spotlight on robotics shifted from manufacturing processes to the world of entertainment. From the motion picture industry to themed attractions, KUKA Robotics now stars in a new role, helping these markets make fantasy a reality and bringing joy to the masses.
Mike Beaupre, Sales Director for Entertainment at KUKA Robotics, and Ed Volcic, Head of Handling Machining Processing BU at KUKA Robotics, spoke about this lighter robotics side.
Pulling the curtain back to find out how the entertainment path came about, Beaupre said he first heard of KUKA working on robotics projects for theme park attractions as early as 2000. In 2006, Beaupre took over responsibility for the company’s entertainment business in the U.S. and, eventually, in overseas markets.
Volcic, also a 20-plus-year veteran of KUKA Robotics, got involved in the business's entertainment side in 2005.
“My first foray into it was putting together a simulation system to simulate the motion our customer at that time wanted to review to see how smooth robot motion could be and the types of motions a robot could achieve,” Volcic said.
When we originally started, our focus was on just a single robot, two passengers on the end of the robot, and how to do that safely.
Initially, the market was for small-use entertainment applications. “We really didn’t expect it would take off the way it did and look at larger theme-park rides for the big players.”
Now, there are multiple robots on multiple vehicles moving around scenery with projection screens. And these robotic technologies expand beyond motion simulated rides. Motion picture cameras also employ KUKA’s robotics to make the once impossible possible. Films like Gravity, with its award-winning effects, utilized unique cameras operated by KUKA solutions.