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Tate Britain to let visitors view art at night using remote-controlled robots

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Tate in the dark
Tate in the dark

What happens in museums when all the visitors leave and the lights turn off is no longer just a series of Ben Stiller movies, it's now an interactive art project of its own. Later this year, Tate Britain — in London — will employ a small battalion of robots that live stream what they see to remote users on the internet who can actually take control and steer them around to particular pieces. Each unit is equipped with a flashlight, casting a type of light on the works that gallery visitors wouldn't typically see unless they were a real-life character in a Dan Brown novel.

Robots with flashlights controlled by strangers

The project, called "After Dark," was born out of the IK Prize, a contest put on by the museum and designed to "enhance public enjoyment of art." After Dark's designers, named The Workers, beat out three other projects, including one that aimed to disperse explanatory art placards by social media, another that sought to look the museum's art collection from a child's perspective, and a one that would have built classic British art inside a public Minecraft server.

For their creation, The Workers are getting £10,000 ($16,410 USD) in prize money, along with £60,000 ($98,460 USD) to build the project. According to Tate Britain, it should be up and running this summer.