RE.WORK Technology Summit was held during two days in Umweltforum (Environmental Forum). This church venue, situated near Berlin Alexanderpatz, is over a hundred years old and has been renovated with high-spec environmental technology.
Day Two opened with the Start-Up Stage. From the six participating start-up companies, all of them with interesting proposals, we highlighted the Berlin-based start-up LUUV, who presented a “bits and atoms” project looking very promising. They are aimed to produce and market the first 3D-Printed plug & play camera stabilizer for smart phones and action cameras, that allows to everybody to shoot steady footage at any time. Now, they are in a prototype stage and “looking for hardware-loving investors”.
Following the Start-Up Stage, Béatrice Marquez-Garrido presented us Future and Emerging Technologies (FET), an EU-backed funding programme whose mission is discovering new technologies with an emphasis on inter-disciplinary, collaborative and high-risk projects. During her brief presentation, she showed some innovative projects where FET is working on as the computer-controlled brain stimulation technology HIVE and the new generation of neuroprostheses Brain Bow. A call is open to submit novel ideas for radical new technologies.
“Meet the New Makers” session gathered to three noted speakers: Ronen Kadushin, Peter Troxler and Sebastien Bourdeauducq, discussing about topics as Open Design, Maker movement and Open Source.
Starting this session, the Israeli, Berlin-based industrial designer Ronen Kadushin enthusiastically talked about Open Design, to which he defined as design behaving as software. He also regarded Open Design as an opportunity for industrial design “to join to the network” and be part of “the cutting-edge society”.
The thought-provoking speech of Dutch researcher Peter Troxler focused on Maker movement to which he strongly supports; he lectured about the enormous growth of this movement over the past ten years, the huge possibilities to create new business that enables, and the growing interest of institutions and companies like US Government and Chevron. On the other hand, Troxler smartly addressed some risks that Maker movement faces as big corporations using it to wash their image or even becoming in just another way of consumerism. Here, an interview with Peter Troxler that we made at Madrid during the past Replic_age event.
Sebastien Bourdeauducq from Open Hardware company M-Labs talked us about the new frontiers of Open Source, highlighting the great opportunity for education that involves. He also said that the main current problem lies on funding to develop projects, making some insightful comments about the pitfalls of crowdfunding, where just looking cool projects can get more funds that other more far-reaching projects.
This session, brilliantly moderated by Lucas Verweij from Pruys-Bekeart programme, became in one of the most high points of the whole event, closing with a stimulating Q&A with the audience.
Under the provocative title of “Designing to Disappear”, Fabio Mastroianni, Service Design Lead at Fjord Stockholm made a captivating presentation addressing the challenges of Design faces on a world shifting to digitization of everything. Designers have to adapt to changes on usability that this hyper-connected world implies. This new paradigm requires a new language of interaction where body movements and gestures, instead of visuals, become the main sources of interaction. Design is dissolving in everyday life. In this postdigital scenario is Design going to disappear ? The answer of Mastroianni is no, but visual interfaces likely will do. Designers must find more natural, simpler ways to communicate, going beyond click and touch.
RE.WORK event closed with Romanian, Berlin-based maker Stefania Druga. She introduced us HacKidemia, a hands-on learning global network organizing workshops with kids around the world to provide them access to the latest technologies, and enable them to solve local challenges (energy, water, food, information) by developing creative solutions and physical artifacts. Here, you can browse their projects. They also run the Afrimakers project aimed to empower the young African maker movement. Going from basics of bits and atoms, that was an encouraging end to a magnificent tech summit.