You'll Soon Be Able To Explore Museums After Dark Using These Robots

It's already a pretty great time to be a couch-bound art lover, and this summer the gallery experience is getting even more futuristic—because anyone with a working Wi-Fi connection will be able to sign up to pilot light- and camera-clad robots around the Tate Britain late at night, offering a self-guided tour with a drone's-eye-view.


The "After Hours" program is the winner of the very first IK Prize, which was created to foster concepts that use digital tech to get folks enjoying art. The project was created by Tommaso Lanza, Ross Cairns and David Di Duca—known together as digital production designers The Workers—and it's… well, it's kinda wild.


Here's the trio to talk about their plan:

So, they've managed to combine the illicit thrill of exploring somewhere that's usually so tightly guarded (not to mention crowded), and introduced the opportunity to poke around under the cover of darkness with no humans in sight.

But! That doesn't mean you'll be alone. The team is working on a queue system that will allow four visitors to tour at once, with the ability to communicate as they go. My heart started beating a little faster when they showed what the realtime streaming would look like. It feels totally heist-y, and what it lacks in clear, perfectly-lit views of the pieces, it more than makes up for in unprecedented access.

Maybe I'm a wuss, but the whole thing makes me just a teensy bit anxious, actually. The thought of rogue bots crashing into a Pollock or Hockney is more than a little nerve wracking. But I have faith these fellas know what they're doing (unless this is an elaborate hoax, in which case--boo). [BBC]

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You'd get a better view of the Tate Britain on the Google Art Project.

Speaking of crashing into things at a museums, I was at a charity gala for the Smithsonian one night, and watched the then Secretary of the institution and the Director of the Air and Space museum crash an electric golf cart into an $80k display case. A little too much champagne. Fortunately the case was empty, but it was pretty funny. They played it off well.