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.


DesignFarmBerlin started 2016 as an initiative at the weissensee school of art and design Berlin to foster design-driven entrepreneurship and Design-in-Tech by offering a tailored acceleration program for innovative start-ups. Until today, the Farm supported 17 designers working in the areas of digital fabrication, textile manufacturing, sustainable nonwovens and software development.

At Salone five young companies will be showcasing their products:

Yolanda Leask with her co-founder Martin Brambley from Doppelhaus take advantage of industrial non-woven technologies in order to create a sustainable and innovative textile collection: Cloudwool is a lightweight and soft felt fabric made of European sheep’s wool. As this nonwoven is much more economical and efficient in production it allows to establish a transparent, domestic production thus a positive economic and ecological vision for the local textile industry.

Additive Addicted, represented by Babette Wiezorek and Dawei Yang, explores through the 3D print of ceramic and fluid materials the interface between material research, generative coding and design, driving forward the emerging industries 4.0. At Salone their will exhibit their recent collection of 3D-printed ceramics.

CASE STUDIES, founded by Konstantin Laschkow and Laura Krauthausen, take a unique approach to designing knitted surfaces, with an emphasis on the perception and analysis of colour. With their experimental vigor and recognizable pointilistic visuals, they have created numerous garments. Today, CASE STUDIES is developing a special interior collection to demonstrate a new modular chromatic system.

Leon Laskowski explores in his work the potential of materials, processes and technologies to create novel production methods. ALL IN, the world’s first entirely 3D printed task light, demonstrates how a complex consumer product can be manufactured in one material and in one piece. This disruptive approach leads eventually to local production, the elimination of manual assembly and pushes recyclability to a whole new level.

OSW Møbel, founded by Oleg Pugachev and Johannes Grune, aims to link traditional crafts and digital fabrication with a cross-cultural approach. Bento is their first product to be showcased at Salone. This range of solid wood trays comes in compatible sizes and shapes to allow free arrangements according to the taste and needs of users – a perfect companion for digital nomads in their small urban habitats.

DesignFarmBerlin, funded by the European Social Fund and the Berlin’s Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises, continues its mission to shape the world by design.

On February 27th & 28th 2018 DesignFarmBerlin selected the third batch of ventures that will work towards launching their products for the period of 6-12 months. We are happy to announce here the current founders:

Jonas Schneider and Valentin Landau from LS301 exploring human-robot collaboration

Kristina Huber, Stephan Bethge und Florian Frenzel from Foam Synthesizer creating new music tools

Eric Esser investigating the essence and the potential of 3D print

Maria Braun from Univessels with innovative home ware to simplify our daily lives

Yomi Ajani with Ultrabar  – a radical assistant system for biking

Bernardo Agiles-Busch with AudioGait  – a system to detect movement and translate it into audio feedback


Leon Laskowski, an agent for change, working at the intersection of materials and technologies