ROBOCHOP by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram

Large scale interactive installation allows internet users worldwide to remotely control a pop-up robotic plant at CODE_n 15.

ROBOCHOP is Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram's second venture into robotics since the award winning OUTRACE installation was hosted on Trafalgar Square during the 2010 London Design Festival.


From March 16-20, 2015 internet users and visitors to CODE_n (Hall 16) at CeBit in Hanover will be able to use an online app connected to the ROBOCHOP installation to design and fabricate a piece of furniture in real time.

The ROBOCHOP interface lets participants instruct a robotic arm to grab and sculpt a prefabricated 40 x 40 x 40cm durable foam cube using a floor mounted hot wire tool to create the object of their choice.

The pop-up robotic plant has been conceptualised, coded and built by KRAM/WEISSHAAR. ROBOCHOP features a needle gripper as the robot's hand, coaxial cooling of the cutting wire and sensors to measure the wire's tension and provide direct feedback to the system. This harnesses the robot's brute force and allows it to sculpt hundreds of unique objects consecutively with elegance and precision. Once manufacturing is complete, each custom object is packaged and posted to the user anywhere in the world entirely free of charge.

ROBOCHOP envisions a not so distant future where intelligent systems empower anyone to directly engage with heavy industrial manufacturing technologies. By removing the obstacles and intermediaries in the supply chain anyone can design and produce the exact object they want.

As pioneered with their previous BREEDING TABLES project, the designers have developed an app that accounts for all variations of a production process as well as the physical limitations of the specified material. Within this range, the user is free to explore the full potential of the process to create a unique object. The system only allows viable designs to go into production but lets the user dictate the appearance and use. Stools, side tables, plinths and abstract sculptural pieces are just a few of the infinite items ROBOCHOP can produce.

Weisshaar states: "In 2010 OUTRACE enabled people all over the world to take over these giant robots to write messages in light - with ROBOCHOP we are taking the next logical step to let users manufacture and own real world objects instead of media."

Each year since the launch of Code_n in 2011, a different artist, architect or designer has envisioned the space for Hall 16. Ulrich Dietz, Chairman of the board of GFT Technologies AG comments: "Everybody is talking about Industry 4.0 - the ROBOCHOP installation by Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram is a case study that demonstrates the potential unleashed when plugging the physical world into the internet."

The installation is commissioned by GFT Technologies AG and supported by Deutsche Messe, EY, Salesforce, Accenture, EnBW, TRUMPF and KUKA.



About the Designers

Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram's work redefines cutting edge design. They have been referred to as "the vanguard of the next generation of digital designers" (FORM magazine) and "the poster boys of a new breed of designers" (International Herald Tribune). Their projects span from software development to process design, from product design to architecture. Weisshaar and Kram's work focusses on the vanishing line between the digital and the physical, always remaining committed to "redesigning design" (Arch+ magazine).

Their work has been exhibited worldwide and can be found in the permanent collections of the Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein), the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Centre Pompidou (Paris). Clients include Audi, Classicon, Prada, Fondazione Prada, Magnum Photos, Rem Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg and the Volkswagen Group.

Before founding KRAM/WEISSHAAR in Munich and Stockholm in 2002, Reed Kram studied design at the trailblazing MIT Media Lab and co-founded the Aesthetics and Computation Group led by John Maeda. He attended the Harvard Graduate School of design and won the Fulbright Scholarship for Art & Design for the Netherlands. Clemens Weisshaar was trained as a metal fabricator and studied Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins. He later worked with Konstantin Grcic and subsequently attended the Royal College of Art in London.



About CODE_n

Originally established by GFT technologies AG, a trailblazer for mobile technology and digital business models, CODE_n seeks to create and connect a new breed of digital pioneers -- a strata of entrepreneurs poised to answer the most crucial questions and pressing problems in the fields of innovative IT and digital business, specifically in the sectors of Future Mobility, Digital Life, Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities. This fourth global innovation contest resulted in the selection of 50 international startups, each hand selected as the most promising business concepts in the Internet of Things.

Global partners of CODE_n are CeBIT, EY and Salesforce; conference partner is Accenture (in cooperation with Smart Service Welt); strategic partners are EnBW, TRUMPF and KUKA.

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