Invasion of Trafalgar Square by German Robots

The Outrace installation in Trafalgar Square is very clever. It has to be! A collaboration between Audi with their 'Vorsprung durch Technik' mantra and two very serious and clever looking designers, Clemens Weisshaar and Redd Karm, Outrace could be nothing but. So what is it?

In its basic form Outrace is a circle of eight car making robots borrowed from Audi and each fitted with a powerful LED light at its head.

Commissioned by the London Design Festival, it's purpose is to enable the general public to write large scale messages which are then 'drawn' in light by the robots. A message is processed every sixty seconds and the technology used allows the handling of 10,000 messages per week.

The sight is magical. The 'arms' move with such smoothness and grace that it is hard to perceive they are industrial machines normally programmed to make industrial product. Taken from their home and placed in such an alien environment, I imagine if they had emotions the robots would feel a little out of place and uncomfortable with all the attention. But they don't look or seem out of place. In a historic open space in the centre of a bustling metropolis with invisible technology surrounding us, they are a reminder of the industrial, technological and design processes that allow us to live our daily lives.

The arms move too slowly to see the letters with the naked eye, but they can be picked up by slow motion cameras. To get your message written and lots more information go to www.outrace.org. Then type in your message and wait to see if the robots will write it for you. If they do the drawing will be filmed and an e-mail sent to you so you can show friends.

I have done it, so let us hope it pasts the test. Watch this space!


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