Robot Makes Sleep a Work of Art

Robotic RenoirABB's IRB 120 robot
ABB's IRB 120 robot sizes up its latest work of art, created as part of the Sleep Art project for ibis hotels.

Robots have worked their way into more places, not only in industrial production lines, but in homes, entertainment and more. But if you think your dreams and your artwork — or at least the artwork you might imagine while you sleep — will remain clear of the robotics domain, think again.

ABB has sent its advanced robots in to collaborate with human subjects while they sleep. ABB France's Robotics division has joined forces with the Sleep Art project, a collaboration including advertising agency BETC Digital and Swedish production company ACNE — creating a Facebook promotion for the European hotel chain ibis.

Using software-processed data transmitted by 80 sensors embedded in the mattress, a hotel guest's sleep pattern is converted into instructions for ABB's smallest robot, the IRB 120. The robot transcribes the overnight movements of guests participating in the project, selecting colors from several paint pots and executing its work on canvas.

The mattress sensors collect data related to temperature, movement and sound, feeding real-time information into a digital algorithm. Using software produced by ACNE and an interface developed by ABB, the robot converts the data into a visual interpretation of the energy and motion of sleep.

The campaign kicked off in mid-October at the ibis hotel in Paris, traveling to Berlin and London before it will conclude in late November. A complete gallery will be posted online, after which participating guests will receive their original works of "sleep art" to keep.

ABB sees the Sleep Art project as a showcase for the capabilities of robotics to perform an expanding range of services to a wide number of businesses.

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