While protesters have long taken to the streets to broadcast their messages, their words are now hitting the pavement, literally, thanks to a mobile robot that paints their tweets right on the road.
Meet the ultimate early 21st century protester, ONE Street Tweeter, a hydraulic robot that uses nontoxic, water-soluble paint to print nearly real-time tweets onto street surfaces.
One, a grassroots advocacy group that fights poverty and preventable disease, created the robot as a way to "maximize the impact of member voices to push for the positive changes we are all seeking to achieve." The Street Tweeter made itself known to the world at the G8 Summit in Camp David, Md., last week.
Attached to a pickup truck, ONE Street Tweeter's 80 jets print out messages as the contraption moves along at 5 mph. Think of it as a giant ink-jet printer, only way more socially conscious.
During the May 18 and 19 meeting of world leaders, members of the public -- and even politicians -- tweeted thousands of mini-messages (40 characters or less) to @ONEStreetTweet or submitted them online. The machine printed as many messages as it could along routes to Camp David and in Washington, D.C., near the White House. Since then, One has been tweeting images of the street tweets back to their sources as a kind of protest keepsake.
"Make G8 great. Prove you care. End poverty," reads one message. Another, tweeted from the account of Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), reads, "Seize the moment. End poverty." And the message from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Twitter account: "3 priorities -- Children. Children + Children." (See lots more tweets to the G8 in this gallery.)
So now that the G8 Summit's over, will the likes of ONE Street Tweeter become a regular fixture on the demonstration circuit? As long as it doesn't clash with RoboCops like this one, we wouldn't be surprised.