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Robot art gives new meaning to beauty sleep

posted 2 Jan 2013, 08:13 by Mpelembe   [ updated 2 Jan 2013, 08:13 ]

What does a good night's sleep look like? European hotel chain Ibis wants to show guests that sweet dreams can truly be a work of art through a scientific marketing strategy that blends robotics with acrylic painting.

ACCOR -  Part of budget hotel chain Ibis's new marketing campaign, the 'Sleep Art' project, brings science into a world usually reserved for human creativity as a high-precision robotic arm uses human sleep movements to create a one-of-a-kind work of art that tells the story of a night's sleep.

"We find an artistic result called 'Sleep Art', and this concept to transform happy sleep in a work of art is a kind of a gift we'd like to offer to our guests," says Lara Faguais, Accor advertising and media strategy senior manager.

Ibis hotels in BerlinParis and London are participating in the experiment, giving 40 participants -- chosen from the hotel's Facebook page -- the chance to sleep their way to their own personal robot painting.

The project is a collaboration between French robotics agency ABB, Swedish production company ACNE, French advertising agency BETC and European hotel operator Accor.

Using data gathered from 80 sensors attached to a mattress pad that measure pressure, heat and sound, 'Sleepy' the robot composes a visual interpretation of the energy and motion of sleep using a thin paintbrush and acrylic paint.

The result is a painting on black canvas exploding with brightly coloured flowers in green, blue and red and showing a person's movement in their sleep.

"We can see very clearly if a person is very calm, very smooth, very relaxed during the night, or if the sleep is more animated. So it's very interesting because most of our guests discovered in the morning some surprising results," Faguais says.

'Sleepy' the robot, whose official name is IRB 120, is a modified version of ABB's industrial robotic arms, generally used for packaging and manufacturing in factories. 'Sleepy' was redesigned to produce smoother movements than his industrial counterparts, joining technology and fine art.

"The artistic side is today meeting the industrial, and we at ABB think it's really important to get focused and to feel what is going to be in the future. Robots today are everywhere, including in the arts, so it was interesting for us to be part of it," says ABB Sales Technical Engineer Guillaume Pradels.

If it sounds like Big Brother is watching you sleep, don't worry. The experiment involves no cameras and the only existing Sleep Art robot is located far away from the hotel room, in the lobby of ParisIbis Styles hotel.

Raw data from the sensors is sent wirelessly using ACNE's 'Dream Box' technology, and translated by sensors in the robot using an algorithm.

Pradels adds that, although technology seems to be pervading all aspects of society, it will not replace human ingenuity itself.

"It's a small robot, it's harmless, no problem. I think the robot is just the technological part together with the software developed by ACNE. But a robot needs a human to get life. It's the human that brings the robot to life," Pradels says.

Guests at Ibis's hotel in London Blackfriars took part recently and this month the project moves to Poland.