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Weeklinks: Robots, dignity & 70s utopia

I’ve been spending most of the months of March & April traveling for what I can only describe as “bird perched looking down with curiosity” work with Lirec. It’s unbelievable fun working with people who have a totally different vocabulary for what can be put as “intelligent product design”. Went to Lyon first for Innorobo a mostly french trade show on robotics which Russell covered very well with this lovely video.

InnoRobo from russelldavies on Vimeo.

Nicolas Nova had invited me to speak at RoboLIFT which was running parallel to the trade show. I thought the best things there was the scary presentation from Noel Sharkey about drones and unmanned vehicles in the army across the world, and Patrizia Marti’s work in looking at the impact of Paro, the robot seal, in patients with Alzheimers and dementia. There was something incredible about the opposing roles of those robots in our society, one for efficient killing, the other for creating conversations where they had dissapeared. I’m also reading about “engenderneering” at the moment, but that’s boring.

Also this is strange but entertaining (seen at a tradeshow in Västerås at the EU Robotics Forum 2011) . I’m sure it should be a toy and nothing to do with the Army. They’d probably make more money from it.

Finally I spent my Friday afternoon in a cold but sunny Stockholm roaming the absolutely brilliant meta- exhibition of the Moma’s 1972 exhibition on modern living in Italy at the Architecture museum. It made me think of the domestic space as a place of constant creativity and flux in architecture in the 60s and 70s that seemed to have stayed there. I see more statements about smartness in cities than I see about homes in the little architectural projects I follow. Maybe there’s no money to be made in homes, but I think there’s tons of interesting things to be designed that are beautiful and practical and not only utopian. One of the studios showcased was Superstudio’s work and here’s something they made once for the Milan Furniture Fair (which is on this week incidentally).

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