Robotics has been a growing staple across the entertainment industry for some time now. Whether it’s enhancing scenes in film and TV through innovative cameras and angles, or through the rides we see at amusement parks, robotics has been steadily becoming more advanced before our eyes. What are the next steps in this growing sector?
One area that has been utilised to great success so far has been using robotic stunt doubles on film and TV sets. The machinery allows for complex, and usually highly dangerous, scenes to be shot using a non-living entity so a creative team can get the most out of the shot on-screen.
The robots are shaped and designed to look like humans and can also be programmed to perform complex tasks and movements. This has expanded to robotic toys and pets also, once again utilized to mitigate the danger on set, but also due to ease of programming. The area that has been a key development point has been movement mimicry.
Another popular method of robotics used in modern-day entertainment has been in lighting, camera, sound, and rigging overall. The area that has perpetrated robotics to the best effect in this regard has been live events. Live concerts have been setting up complex rigs using robotics to capture bespoke angles and for advanced synchronisation, the same concept is used in live sport, especially football.
Drone filming has also started to enter the sphere with drone shows famously taking place in Dubai and at special events around the world. Robotic amusement park rides have also become a mainstay at funfairs and carnivals around the world to cater to visitors, as well as robot servers in restaurants and at exhibitions.
As robots can perform many functions that humans cannot the further application of robots throughout media and entertainment is guaranteed.
Robosport, a performance enhancement company that uses robotics across its business machinations sees a bright future for the robotics industry overall.
It currently works in an area that aims to enhance human performance through robotics, rather than replacing the human element.
“Our first foray into this field is in sports. We’ll use robotics to make athletes less robotic,” said Salvatore LoDuca, founder and CEO of Robosport.
“While we are beginning with baseball we hope to develop new technologies for other sports and endeavors such as tennis, golf, football, and even across other areas like entertainment, by tailoring the technology for the specific sport and/or movement required.”
Robosport is the first company to introduce a methodology that combines contralateral training and randomization—both of which are inherently organic, non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical practices that use natural body mechanisms to open up neural networks and foster the brain’s ability to connect to more muscle and muscle fiber. The uses of this could further expand into VR and AR technology across film, TV and gaming. Robosport’s work has been tested and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sport and Human Performance.
The first area Robosport has targeted is the baseball batting tee. Traditionally, batters place a tee at a chosen position and keep it there, creating a swing path in the same spot or same plane when moved around the plate.
The company’s launch products include a one-axis tee and two-axis adapter that are both programmed with thousands of randomized positions—closing the curtains on any possible muscle memory actions. The randomized nature forces batters to “rethink” each swing and for the first time effectively teaches “knowledge of the strike zone.”
On upcoming robotic applications LoDuca added:
“Future products include development of a patent approved commercial-grade robotic tee that can determine a user’s 3D cubical strike zone through spatial recognition cameras and software and will automatically replace balls for the batter.”
“This commercial tee version can be used for scouting so that a coach in Maine can see a batter in Texas and remotely move the tee to different parts of the strike zone and evaluate a batters form from different areas of the strike zone. We also have an approved patent to capture data metrics such as bat speed, swing angle, ball speed, trajectory, spin and where a ball would end up in a ballpark.”
He added: “Now think about how this could be used on a film or TV set. We could technically completely wipe out human error and programme robotics to dictate speed, angles, and movements, and think in real-time how to capture the best shot. The possibilities are truly endless.”
On the next steps for the industry and the company he concluded, “Once the user has faith and loyalty in robotic application because of its propensity to deliver real performance enhancement, we can then begin to market the tools and the apparel, whilst developing new technology to enhance other sectors also.”
“We also have an approved patent to develop an augmented reality system where a virtual pitcher will pitch virtual balls of varying pitch types, speeds, and release points as well as randomizing the balls coming from left – or right-handed pitcher,” LoDuca says.
“The virtual ball will intersect the real ball on the tee and the batter’s objective is to hit the real ball at the closest point that the virtual ball intersects it.”
The company believes that advancements in augmented reality will be able to better provide batters effective means to teach timing and create practice sessions that are much closer to the real game than anything yet on the market. This form of training is seen as the next evolution in batting practice as, unlike virtual reality, the Robosport system of augmented reality will provide for a real bat, a real ball, and a real swing.
Increased adoption of robotics comes as no surprise considering the focus on future-facing ideas that society has embraced over the past decade. Robotics is also being seen as a potential fast-growth area in the world of Web3 to enhance user experience.