ABB robots bring festive cheer to New York shop

  • December 10, 2019
  • imc

Helping New York celebrate the festive season, twelve ABB robots are interacting with visitors to Bloomingdale’s iconic holiday celebration at its 59th Street flagship store.

ABB’s robots are the main attraction in three of Bloomingdale’s twelve holiday window displays at Lexington and Third Avenue, as ABB demonstrates the potential for its robotics and automation technology to improve visual merchandising and make the retail experience more dynamic and whimsical.

ABB and long-time creative partner AndyRobot have harnessed the excitement of human-robot interaction at Bloomingdale’s to engage shoppers through a visual experience and to explore how robotics technologies could be applied in a retail environment.

In one window, four ABB robots work together to create an autonomous Christmas tree decorating display. Two floor-mounted and two ceiling-mounted IRB 120 robots co-ordinate 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.

A festive orchestra of four ABB IRB 1200 robots play brass shakers, tambourine, concert chime and futuristic digital xylophone to entertain shoppers with a range of Christmas carols. Visitors 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.

It wouldn’t be a holiday celebration without karaoke, so the third display is a RoboScreen Christmas carol karaoke window. Shoppers can select from a range of holiday songs, with the lyrics appearing on three moving 96cm graphical screens attached to the arms of three IRB 120 robots.

RoboScreens, patented by robot animator AndyRobot, bring coordinated six-axis motion to video displays. Assembling in various formations, when together RoboScreens can display one large cohesive video or image, and when apart they can display individual, synchronised images that virtually jump from screen to screen. This creates an engaging and dynamic viewer experience that, in this case, inspires window shoppers on the street to participate in the festive singalong.

Inside Bloomingdales, ABB’s collaborative YuMi robot demonstrates the latest Nespresso coffee experience serving shoppers a choice of coffee.

Designed to work safely alongside humans, YuMi can interact directly with shoppers to create a merchandising experience for Nespresso by allowing them to see their product in action. With its precision and mobility, YuMi automates the entire brewing process, from handling and loading the selected drink pod, to serving the hot beverage and disposing of the used capsule for recycling.

“We are excited to be part of such an iconic celebration as shoppers in New York kick off the holiday season,” said Marc Segura, Swiss company ABB’s global head of service robotics. “As well as bringing some festive cheer to Bloomingdales’ customers, we are showcasing how robotics and automation technology could help revitalise the retail experience. 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.”

All the robots at Bloomingdales are being monitored 24 hours a day by the ABB team from their US Robotics headquarters in Michigan using ABB Ability connected services technology. This system remotely monitors and analyses intelligence directly from the robots, allowing technicians to identify and address potential issues that could lead to an unplanned stoppage before it occurs.