Company: Marvel Studios
Industry: Movie Production
DENSO Products Used: VS 050 and VS 087
Company Location: USA and UK
For the latest release of its highly successful blockbuster string of “Avengers” movies, the production company Marvel Studios needed futuristic-looking robots for one of the movie’s key scene showing a dramatic turn of events in the movie plot. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the epic follow-up to the biggest super hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and the “Avengers” are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron, an artificial intelligence, emerges, it is up to the “Avengers” to stop him from enacting his terrible plans.
DENSO Robotics provided three robots, two VS 050 and one VS 087, for the dramatic, turning-point scene set in a futuristic medical lab meant to be in Seoul of movie character Dr. Helen Cho (played by Claudia Kim), a geneticist helping the Avengers. “For this scene, we were not looking for industrial robots that would have fitted Stark’s lab, but rather for medical ones”, explains movie set designer Richard Roberts, one of the world’s leading sci-fi and fantasy set designers. “After some research we found images of DENSO robots, which had the right, white color and the high-tech design we were looking for. We wanted to show the cutting-edge technology in Dr. Cho’s lab – and the robots reflect that image. The DENSO robots definitely had the best look suiting the existing set design.”
The robots were lent to the production by DENSO Robotics, a DENSO service representative was on site programming the robots in PacScript to perform regular pick-and-place functions with several position variables, which were easily obtained by using the functions within the controller.
The actual filming of the scene took place over three days last year at the Shepperton studios near London.
The robots can be seen in the key lab scene, when the Avengers are trying to stop Ultron: In the lab, Ultron forces Dr. Cho to create a physical body for him by applying her synthetic-tissue technology. As Ultron enters his body, his plans for human extinction are revealed, the fight against Ultron begins while the robots’ movements can be seen in the background and also during a fascinating close-up.
In the scene, the robots then acted as if in a lab, moving test tubes (the two VS 050) and a laser probe used on some tissue in the lab (VS 087). The robots used on the set are part of the latest line of vertical robot arms in combination with DENSO’s latest model controller, the RC8. ”The integration of the robots into the set was done manually and very easy, also thanks to the quick delivery and excellent DENSO service”, remembers Richard Roberts. Though they were not technically integrated with their software into the movie production technology, the set designers created custom-built work benches in order to accommodate the robots and then integrated them into the overall stage design. The white design and fast movements of the DENSO robots made them the preferred choice of the movie production company. Richard Roberts explains why the DENSO robots fit in so well and why viewers are fascinated by them: “Robots used to be science-fiction – now they are suddenly part of our reality. It fascinates that they copy human movements, both in production lines and in medical labs, for example, and perform amazing things. They really have come to life.” The set designer would use DENSO robots again in a movie with a contemporary or futuristic setting, fantasy or real.
DENSO robots made it to the silver screen and obviously, are there to stay.
For more information on “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, please visit www.marvel.com/movies