Remember way back in February when we reported that you’d be able to remotely control robots to explore the Tate Britain After Dark
Well, now’s your chance! You can check out the live footage of four bots gone wild — and sign up to make them move from the comfort of your laptop.
It will be pretty cool to see this ambitious proposal become reality, because when it was announced one of the biggest question marks was: “How the hell are they going to make this happen?”
Well: After winning the IK Prize with their concept, Ross Cairns and Tommaso Lanza — aka London-based digital product design studio The Workers — were approached by the research and technology stars at RAL Space, who are usually working to develop new tools for space exploration. The team turned their attention to this terrestrial project, and helped create the chassis for the robots: a circular base, 24-inches in diameter, with a kind of bumper around the bottom that acts as a kind of kill-switch. If it comes in contact with anything the bot will shut down.
In addition to the camera and LED spotlights that give them a decidedly anthropomorphic edge, each will operate using sonar to navigate (like flesh-and-blood bats!). After that, it’s up to the internet-connected public to live out their own kind of futuristic From the Mixed Up Files… and Night at the Museum fantasies.
Still not quite convinced it’s possible? Everyone’s favourite astronaut Chris Hadfield already took one of them for a spin from his Toronto studio. As he explained in the vid above, the experience was so seamless that he got all kinds of caught up in examining the art in this new way, rather than focusing on the fact he was so far removed from the site itself.
You can tune in to the livestream from 10pm to 3am GMT (8am to 5pm AEST) every day through to August 17.
Think you can avoid ramming a J.M.W. Turner and keep clear of the William Blakes? A request form should be posted here now that the festivities have begun, so keep refreshing, good luck, and please for the love of everything that’s holy don’t burn the place down (or pull a Thomas Crown. Remember, the whole world is watching…). Here’s hoping everything goes off without a hitch.