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Technology transfer Research prototypes Animatronic Audiovisual Control System (AACS)

Animatronic Audiovisual Control System (AACS)

Audio, Video, Lighting & Motion Control for Animatronics Shows and Audiovisual Installations.

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Animatronic Audiovisual Control System (AACS)
Audio | Video | Lighting & Motion Control System for Animatronics Shows and Audiovisual Installations.


Animatronic Audio-visual Control System (AACS) is a robust, flexible, intuitive and low cost solution for control and automation of lighting, sound, video and movements in shows and audio-visual installations.

In a context of increasing technical complexity, our technological challenge has been to achieve agility, precision and stability in programming operations and reliable execution of audio-visual and animatronics performances by means of integrating different technologies and communication protocols.

AACS has been developed by researchers in control engineering and automation of the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), in order to satisfy the highest technical requirements in the field of entertainment and audio-visual industry. These goals have been achieved through a simplified and flexible programming of scenes without relinquishing high scalability and system customization.

Usefulness

Any show or audio-visual installation which needs real-time simultaneous synchronization of lighting, movements, multichannel audio and streaming video at different resolutions could benefit from the all in one AACS, connecting creative professionals and media companies with their audiences effectively, robustly and profitably.

Uses might include:

  • Control of Audio-visual Programming
  • Animatronics
  • Permanent or Semi-permanent Installations
  • Theme Parks
  • Museums
  • Architectural Lighting
  • Arts
  • Interactive Media
  • Outdoor Shows

Features

  • Solid: The system has been developed in order to achieve a stable and solid technology integration of all hardware-software components. The quality of the components and operational efficiency of the software ensures a powerful, fast and accurate optimization of audio, lighting, video and movements programming.
  • Profitable/Low Cost: AACS decreases costs and technical requirements. It allows work without sound mixers, lighting console, external synchronizers, video players or additional software communication with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). All programming is within the same control system. The workflows are streamlined by simplifying how to program the unit, increasing overall productivity and the profitability of each project.
  • Intuitive: Just one software package (Ableton Live) allows you to control and synchronize lighting, sound, video, movements automation and animatronics programmatically over a timeline
  • Custom Interface : AACS can be operated by touch devices. The owner can implement the desired functions and allow different levels of access to the system programming or playback in order to avoid unwanted manipulation of the operating system or the use of peripheral ports. The interface design is also made exclusively for the customer.
  • Automating the startup and shutdown: The whole Control System is designed for an automatic start. A high-performance UPS protects and distributes power through various devices and components. After powering up the unit, it remains on standby ready to play the programming performed. The operator activates it by one touch screen: play / stop. The whole Control System automatically shut-off and safely performed after the command: exit / close.
  • Flexible: AACS is modular and scalable. It is possible to expand the number of outputs and audio inputs by different sound cards with multiple communication ports and audio transmission. The lighting control can be increased in several DMX universes simply by additional modules. It is also possible to extend the management of multiple video outputs for multi-screen creating shows or video mapping. Full synchronization is possible, as master or slave with other audio-visual systems using different communication protocols; MIDI TC, SMTE, UDP, or Ethernet so that two or more control systems can work in parallel, synchronized with each other and located in different locations. The System may be remotely programmed and controlled with computers, iOS or Android mobile devices. The accessibility for programming and checking their status by remote management over the Internet is possible as well. It makes easy the maintenance and communication.


System Programming

The different scenes are programmed on the timeline with intuitive and robust software (Ableton Live). This is one of the most widely used packages on the market and there is extensive documentation that allows the programmer to easily access relevant information.

The video programming and control of video are synchronized with the lighting scenes, audio, movement automation and animatronics. It is managed directly on the timeline of the software. You can control multiple video outputs using multiscreen techniques to form a single image with various video projectors or multiscreen systems.

Control and lighting Programming

The basic configuration of the Control System allows up 512 DMX channels. The programming of this software is intuitive, robust, supports MIDI controllers and includes oscillators synchronized with audio inputs or with the tempo/BPM of the sessions. Through advanced settings you can get to control multiple DMX universes by increasing the number of channels to be controlled.

The sound programming and management of multichannel audio is easy, flexible and powerful. Ableton Live works with multiple audio formats, real-time effects, equalizers, retarders and compressors for optimizing playback through different audio systems. The automation and volume curves are easily edited, as well as the routing signals through different physical sound outputs. Up to 20 audio inputs and output are available in the basic configuration.

Communication with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)

By converting multiple communication protocols (ARTNET, MIDI, DMX, UDP, OSC) it is possible to control different parameters and outputs towards PLCs.

A PLC is a computer used in industrial engineering for automation automating electromechanical processes such as control of machinery on factory assembly line or amusement parks. A PLC is a small computer optimized to provide robust operation in an industrial environment. In essence, a PLC receives signals from digital and analog sensors (inputs), reads control programs or the signal of our control system, makes mathematical calculations and as a result, controls different types of hardware (outputs) such as valves, lights, relays, actuators, etc.

With these PLCs the possibilities for automation of mobile elements into the scenography are expanded. Limbs, mouths or arms from animatronic characters can be synchronized with songs that interpret the characters within an audio-visual narrative.



The programming of all movements and different devices controlled by PLCs are performed into the timeline of Ableton Live in the same way as video, sound and lighting programming. External controllers from Ableton Live such as mobile devices, control surfaces and MIDI instruments facilitates the chance of controlling the animatronic characters.
 

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