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Trends at #DDW17: Robotics vs Mankind

26 October 2017

Various exhibitions and designers this year are providing a glimpse into the future of robots in our society. To what extent can technology be integrated in our lives? Will technology take over from people? What is the dividing line between a human and a robot?

There are countless speculations about how robotics could change society. The expectation is that within 30 years the majority of our jobs will have been taken by robots. The secondment agency for humans and robots Hubot anticipates this development. On 21 October the exhibition opened its doors under the guise of a secondment agency in the Eindhoven branch of MediaMarkt. Hubot is an initiative by Next Nature Network and it shows sixteen futuristic professions in which robots have not replaced humans. Through cooperation we can strengthen each other is the adage. 

The exhibition Robotanica by Transnatural presents the project Tumbleweed by Shlomi Mir; an autonomous robot that collects data in the most desolate places on earth. This object provides scientists with insights into desert forming and into how factors like climate change, and quick-returns agriculture contribute to this. 

The Kickstarter projects Somnox world’s first sleep robot and Hugsy Home are two examples of technology that can improve our lives. Somnox is a cuddly toy to help you fall asleep and stay asleep that radiates sound, breathing rhythms and affection. Hugsy Home helps to extend the presence of parents in the case of new-born children where the parent cannot be present. Through recording the temperature, heartbeat and breathing rhythm of the parent and playing it back again later, the new born can be soothed. 

The Mind The Step programme, in which projects from three Dutch Universities of Technology are brought together, also includes various Robotic projects. Matthijs Otten, a TU Delft graduate, designed an autonomous swarming robot ‘Zebro’ that can comb through areas in search of survivors in the case of (natural) disasters. More technological and robotic innovations can be found in the Klokgebouw at the start-up valley ‘Radius’. Tumble is one of the projects that strengthens the human-product interaction in a smart home environment. Tumble pulse is a good example of this; an object that facilitates smart lighting and other technology through responding to touch.