KUKA Robots Make Large Black Flags Dance

The “Black Flags” of William Forsythe wave about the room on meter-long carbon rods. The US artist, best known for his work as a choreographer, has devoted his current exhibition to new forms of presentation.

At the heart of the show are two KUKA robots from the KR QUANTEC series which are painted black. Placed next to one another, the robots make the large black flags dance inside the White Cube of the Lipsiusbau in Dresden. It is the US choreographer's second exhibition at the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD).


The flags move in parallel, move away from each other and then come together again, one placed upon the other. The 20-minute choreography of the automated ballet mesmerizes visitors. "The term choreography is a rich one. Movement doesn't just exist on stage or in the body," says Forsythe, one the most important choreographers of modern dance. As a result, the noises created by the six-axis robots - known otherwise only in industrial settings - blend with the harmonized movements of the flags. An installation, according to Forsythe, that appears both "creepy and wonderful".

Over the past several years, Forsythe has had numerous exhibitions in art contexts. "This here is his hardest and best work," said Director General Hartwig Fischer at the opening of the exhibition. "Black Flags" can be seen in Dresden until 11 January 2015. The exhibition is part of a long-term collaboration between William Forsythe and the SKD. In addition to waving flags, the show also includes two videos featuring other forms and means of motion.

KUKA robots whirling black flags: The "Black Flags" exhibition can be seen in the Lipsiusbau in Dresden until 11 January 2015.

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The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.