[Recently we brought you news that this art installation was coming. Now that’s its open we have the first pictures and videos of it in action.?Ed.]
Car sales are sluggish and auto assembly lines are rolling slowly to a stop. So how about putting those manufacturing robots to work doing something useful…like making art? Eight robots from Audi’s production line in Ingolstadt, Germany will be transported to London as part of an interactive installation where the hulking machines will act like virtual secretaries, transcribing messages sent to them from the audience. The piece named Outrace, was designed by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram and has taken up residence in Trafalgar Square as part of the London Design Festival.
Using an interface on the Web site or mobile device tuned to outrace.org, anyone can control the robot arms by typing in a text message. The characters in the message will then be traced as sweeping three-dimensional gestures by the robots, which have powerful LED lights attached to their dainty little robot fingertips. The light paths are then captured with long-exposure cameras which will present the letters as short videos that can be viewed and shared online.
Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram work with a team of designers and programs for many of their pieces. For this project, they also enlisted metalworkers, builders, robotics engineers, computer engineers and software developers to make sure the robot artists perform with as much precision as they do on the assembly line. More on the testing and technology of Outrace can be found at outrace.org The installation opened today at the London Design Festival.
[Photos by David Levene]