Exhibition

Thanks for having us @retuneberlin, an innovative festival for design, art and technology.  Former farmer Yolanda Leask from Doppelhaus, DesignFarmBerlin, and sound artists Hannes Hoelzl and Isak Han, UdK / Creative Prototyping, had a great opportunity to presented their products and ways into entrepreneurship.

The Retune Festival is a biennial event at the intersection of art, design, and technology. In its fifth edition, Retune will bring together more than 500 intrepid minds across 2 days.

The Festival is a “think-and-do-tank” and explores the speculative futures of our digital society. Internationally renowned creatives, researchers, and engineers working on the latest technologies will share their inspirational insights in talks and panels. Get your hands on in workshops and experiment with future ideas and technologies. Experience and immerse yourself into digital art with installations, exhibitions and performance. And exchange with interdisciplinary creative pioneers.

 

Yolanda Leask and Martin Brambley are still on course for success and continuing with the development of their innovative material Cloudwool. And so we are very glad to report on the progress of the young company DOPPELHAUS, who have hit many milestones in 2017 and 2018.

For example, being selected to show at Munich Fabric Start Sustainable Innovations where they exhibited in both Winter 2017 and 2018.

 

The interaction design studio LS301 focusses on the occurring questions within the implementation of autonomous technology and on the potential of interacting with collaborative machines. More and more smart products in our everyday life are able to preceive their surroundings, to take their own decisions and start moving autonomously in our environment. Currently the close interaction between man and machine can be experienced in the field of collaborative robots, so-called cobots.  

The Hannover Messe is one of the most important industrial trade fairs worldwide. With this year’s slogan – connect & collaborate – it was the ideal place to get a detailed overview on current standards and future trends. However after eight hours and 40 booths it was shown, that despite the proclamation of a close teamwork with machines, there was hardly any innovation regarding the interaction. In the case of service robots for example it rather appears, that the developers got lost in old-fashioned stereotypes. Besides that, there were many examples of robotic production in combination with augmented and virtual reality. But especially assembly robots played a huge role at the trade fair.

 

Cobots are still stuck in a future marketing bubble and rarely restrain old-fashioned stereotypes.

 

In this context it’s all about collaboration. But not in terms of really working hand in hand. Teaching replaces hard coding. That means by moving the different axes of the robot, it memorizes the certain positions. From there on the machine repeats its routine autonomously. At this point every interaction is limited to external interfaces. This is no surprise. Because despite their ability to perceive their surroundings, these smart machines are remarkably limited in their communication. You can’t really tell, what their intentions are and that leaves questions begging to be asked. For example how do we know that the robot is aware of our presence? How do we know in what direction the robot is about to move? Or will it stop, if I cross its path? As long as those kind of questions remain unanswered, you will definitely experience a feeling of insecurity. That makes it really difficult to work close with the robot.

 

How can we physically interact without the need of a tablet interface?

 

Some attempts to answer these questions were presented in the research and technology hall. One example was KIT’s physical interface, which was directly attached to the robot. The combination of visual feedback, indicating motions, and the control function with capacitive sensors led to an intuitive interaction. So in every situation, the user is aware of the machines intentions and gets immediate feedback once he approaches his cobot. 

At the end of the day, the claim „connect & collaborate“ was often limited to a robot handshake printed on a promotion pamphlet. But nevertheless the fair and discussions with exhibitors proved, that there is a great potential for defining how the collaboration between man and machine should be like in the future. There is a need for innovative solutions and for an authentic human-machine collaboration. A comprehensible interaction with distinct indications of the machines intention builds trust. And that is the key to a reliable collaboration.

 

Last week we landed in nonwovens heaven, otherwise known as Techtextil in Frankfurt, Germany. Here all big technical textiles players gather from across Europe and beyond, to showcase their wares, make deals and negotiate. We couldn’t possibly miss this chance to finally meet the nonwoven manufacturers in person, who we have been corresponding with via email for months!

On arrival, the sheer amount of exhibitors was truly overwhelming. Techtextil is an enormous operation: happening only once every two years, in the meantime the company organise similar expos in Russia, North America and Asia. The hall with my name on, 3.1., dedicated to nonwoven manufacture, was only one of many, yet in itself a pulsating hotspot for commerce. The expo site is in itself almost a small city, continuously filled throughout the year with visitors and varying exhibitors from across the world.

The first day began well, resulting in productive talks about potentially having samples made with several new companies that I hadn’t previously been aware of. Friends of mine from the department of Textile and Surface Design at Weissensee art school in Berlin had won a prize for new textile building methods, announced at Techtextil17, so we had something else to celebrate!

Day two had higher aims, with more time to meet exhibitors and some important appointments with factory managers ahead. What proved very helpful was having exchanged emails with many companies in advance, I knew the names of the employees I was looking for, and could approach their colleagues and ask for them, which enabled me to optimize my time, and make a better impression. The main company we have been negotiating with for weeks were clearly in demand, as their booth was always full, and our appointment had to be arranged in advance. Perhaps a good sign, that they are a firm worth their salt! After the day was through, I left the fair feeling positive, that many manufacturers appeared willing to look into our requests and that possibilities are on offer to make nonwoven wool fabrics in Germany/EU. Let’s hope that this networking will result in a sustainable supply chain to produce our fabrics on a large scale in the near future.

Author: Yolanda Leask
More information: http://yolandaleask.com/about.html

We are happy to let you know that DesignFarm will be exhibiting this year along with 300 other SMEs at the annual Innovationstag Mittelstand 2017 on the site of AiF Projekt GmbH in Berlin-Pankow. Apart from showcasing some of the current ventures as Esther Zahn’s UXFTT and Ursula Wagner’s Dynamic Fabrics we would like to emphasize the increasing role of design in the technological context. We are looking forward to meet you at our booth: Register here