SAO PAULO – With an augmented reality robot dancing to the rhythm of samba to costumes with scannable QR codes or bracelets that tell you the heart rate of the performers, this year’s Carnival in Sao Paulo promises to be the most technologically advanced so far, reflecting Brazil’s desire to embrace the future.
Far from science fiction, the samba school Rosas de Ouro has choreographed an Industry 4.0 themed parade combing physical and virtual entertainment to explore the role of humanity as a servant of technology.
“The fourth (industrial) revolution is already a reality around the world,” Andre Machado, one of the troupe’s organizers, told EFE.
He said he wants to take that revolution and apply it to the biggest open-air party in the world.
The idea to integrate technology into Brazil’s famous festival came from a team of professors at three different universities: the University of Sao Paulo, Centro Universitario da FEI and the Maua Institute of Technology.
For the first time, these institutions have come together to combine their experiences in lab technology and breathe a futuristic life into the Rosas de Ouro troupe’s Modern Times performance.
“We created a character called ROXP4, a robot that travels to the past, through the four revolutions,” Machado said.
The robot, which appears on your phone screen when you scan the QR code, will take participants on a trip down memory lane.
ROXP4 will travel back in time, exploring the effects each industrial revolution has had on humanity, from massive urbanization to the formation of a middle class to the shift towards software and hardware.
The technological evolution of today will be encapsulated by the 3D augmented reality robot, who will mimic the moves of a human dancer at the Sambadrome party using sensors attached to those taking part in the performance.
“The proposal aims to humanize revolution 4.0,” Rosas de Ouro vice-president Osmar Costa said.
Machado said he wants to ensure that, despite the presence of a dancing robot, the passion and talent of a real Samba dancer will never be eclipsed by technology’s advanced.
To that end, another innovation for the troupe this year is a bracelet worn by the dancers that allows those plugged into the app to follow the heart rate and energy consumption of the performers.
The objective is to marry the digital and physical world, according to Ari Nelson Rodrigues, a researcher and professors at the Maua Institute of Technology, who admits he is now a budding Carnival fan.
At the end of the parade, the chips will allow spectators to track the carbon footprint of the spectacle, and the brilliant costumes will be recycled.
“They will have a fleeting life,” Rodrigues said.