Robotics: ABB Robots featured in upcoming Terminator movie

The visibility of industrial robotics will reach an entirely new level on May 21, 2009, when Warner Brothers Studios releases the new Terminator Salvation. ABB robots are 'very visible and instrumental in the final, climactic scene of the movie.' See photos; link to trailers, videos.

05/15/2009


Update July 1: Terminator machine vision

Imaginary Forces crafted the machine vision view of Terminator Salvation robots
The company Imaginary Forces was asked to design and produce the machine vision views for the Terminator Salvation film, the way the new Terminator robots see the world and process information.

The visibility of industrial robotics will reach an entirely new level on May 21, 2009, when Warner Brothers Studios releases the new Terminator Salvation movie to North American audiences. In addition to Christian Bale and the army of rival Terminators, 18 ABB robots will share starring roles in the fourth of the highly popular Terminator films.


Appropriately cast in a versatile manufacturing role, 12 ABB IRB 6620s and six ABB IRB 1600s spent summer 2008 on the movie set of "Terminator Salvation."


Appropriately cast in a versatile manufacturing role, 12 ABB IRB 6620s and six ABB IRB 1600s spent summer 2008 on the movie set in a converted power plant in Albuquerque, NM. Through special effects, the robots are arranged in an almost endless manufacturing line, mass producing a growing army of the Terminators.
Jaffe Entertainment, a product placement firm, had initially contacted ABB and other robotic manufacturers to investigate the possibility of using their robots and to review their individual product lines. Academy Award winning set director Victor Zolfo and production designer Martin Laing were most intrigued by ABB’s product offering, and began working with Ted Wodoslawsky, ABB Robotics vice president of marketing, to work out the details and select the robot models that would best fit the role.

ABB IRB 1600 robot

“We looked at a variety of different robot manufacturers, but were most struck by the presence of ABB’s robots, especially the larger units,” said Zolfo. “They had the right lines and they provided the feel that they could actually be making Terminators.”

Controllers enable‘incredible ballet’



“What the ABB programming system was able to get the robots to do was better than we ever expected. The robots are very visible and instrumental in the final, climactic scene of the movie.”

ABB Field service engineer, Erik Ryskamp, with periodic support from additional ABB technicians, spent 10 weeks during the summer 2008 on set, installing, programming and operating the robots. An ABB IRC5 controller was provided with every robot to facilitate the precise programming required for the various scenes.
“Erik and his team worked with us very closely creating an incredible ballet with the robots, actors, stuntmen and Christian Bale,” said Zolfo. “What the ABB programming system was able to get the robots to do was better than we ever expected. The robots are very visible and instrumental in the final, climactic scene of the movie.”

ABB IRB 6620 robot

ABB says that the six-axis IRB 6620, with 2.2 m reach and 150 kg capacity, is the most versatile of the large robots on the market. It can be installed in four mounting positions: Floor with range more than 1.1 m below its foot, tilted - up to 15° on the second layer of two layer automotive installations, or inverted with full robot performance in reach and payload.

“Originally we were scheduled to be on-site for about five weeks; I think when McG (movie director) saw how cool the robots worked we got the chance to be in a couple more scenes,” said Ryskamp. “I really got a feel for all the planning and effort that is put into every individual scene.”
Just like the human actors, many of the robots were significantly made-up, covered with black soot to appear as if they had been in rigorous use in for an extended period in dingy conditions. “The robots were really an evolutionary character,” said Zolfo. “Like an interim step between the humans and the Terminators.”
All robots have since been returned to ABB and have been prepped for less visible, but equally important future roles in real-life industrial manufacturing.
ABB Robotics has installed more than 160,000 robots worldwide.
Terminator Salvation official website: terminatorsalvation.warnerbros.com has three trailers and more movie information.
View the trailer for "Terminator Salvation " in an ABB link in .WMV format.
- Written by Alex Miller; posted by Renee Robbins, senior editor, Control Engineering News Desk

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