488 results for “Humane Technology”

How technology keeps us connected, now more than ever

Britta de Vries
March 17th 2020

At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each …

Cyborg artist Moon Ribas feels earthquakes

Freya Hutchings
February 11th 2020

Imagine waking in the night, and feeling the vibrations of an earthquake on the other side of the world pulsing through your body. This is a reality for Catalan-born artist Moon Ribas. How? She proudly proclaims: "I'm a cyborg."

Two implants located in Ribas' feet are connected to online seismic sensors, which send real-time vibrations through her body whenever an earthquake takes place. The strength of the vibrations correspond with the veracity of seismic movements. "Before, I knew Earth was …

This expo explores love in the internet age

NextNature.net
January 15th 2020

Data Dating is an exhibition that explores what it means to find romance in the internet age. Love it or hate it, technology has transformed the way we date. So, how are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships, and what happens when passion runs free in both offline and online spaces?

Bringing together the works of several international artists, Data Dating reveals new forms of intimate communication, contemplates the commodification of love through dating apps, and investigates the renegotiation of …

Five ways AI could make your car as smart as a human passenger

Max Eiza
January 6th 2020

Driving long distances without a passenger can be lonely. If you’ve ever done it, you might have wished for a companion to talk to – someone emotionally intelligent who can understand you and help you on the road. The disembodied voice of SatNav helps to fill the monotonous silence, but it can’t hold a conversation or keep you safe.

Research on driverless cars is well underway, but less is heard about the work being done to make cars a smart …

These speculative ‘Next Senses’ allow you to augment your senses with technology

NextNature.net
December 30th 2019

Imagine you could communicate telepathically with a whale, listen to the WiFi networks in your environment, or experience smells through seeing color. Developments in technology give us the rare opportunity to expand and augment our sensorial capabilities, and relate to other (non-)human life forms in various hybrid forms.

The world we live in changes constantly, but the senses we use to perceive it remain the same. Next Senses explores the unchartered territory of how we could experience the world with …

The beginner’s guide to biohacking

Peter Joosten
November 19th 2019

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term 'biohacking'? Perhaps you are now thinking of a bunch of kids sitting in their kitchen with a DNA kit, (wannabe) cyborgs inserting subcutaneous chips in their bodies, or perhaps a person striving for optimum performance through a perfect lifestyle. These are all types of biohacking, but there's more to it. Here's what you need to know (and were too afraid to ask).

Bulletproof coffee

The problem …

Should men be able to give birth to children?

NextNature.net
October 30th 2019

Within a few years, it may be possible for premature babies to grow inside an artificial womb. And when that day arrives, should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or frankenstein nightmares? Welcome to Reprodutopia, a debate on our reproductive futures.

A new narrative

For a long time the birds and the bees served us well to explain where our children come from. Yet radical developments …

Truly smart homes could help dementia patients live independently

Dorothy Monekosso
October 28th 2019

You might already have what’s often called a “smart home”, with your lights or music connected to voice-controlled technology such as Alexa or Siri. But when researchers talk about smart homes, we usually mean technologies that use artificial intelligence to learn your habits and automatically adjust your home in response to them. Perhaps the most obvious example of this are thermostats that learn when you are likely to be home and what temperature you prefer, and adjust themselves accordingly without …

Watch: BBC reports on world’s first artificial womb for humans

NextNature.net
October 21st 2019

Now that the team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb, this breakthrough raises ethical questions about the future of baby making on a global scale.

Therefore the BBC caught up with NNN designer Lisa Mandemaker, as part of their BBC 100 Women of 2019, on what it means to …

Artificial Womb receives €2.9m funding to develop prototype

Freya Hutchings
October 8th 2019

Hooray! The team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb.

Artificial womb: a brief explainer

The artificial womb would provide premature babies with artificial respiration in conditions close to a biological womb. Oxygen and nutrients would be delivered to the baby through an umbilical cord-like tube. Inside, the baby would …

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At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each other. Despite the fact that people are physically distancing themselves, it is in many cases still possible to attend social activities — from celebrating birthday parties to a virtual bar mitzvah — all thanks to technology.

Being alone, together

Television is finding a way to change its content in order to still be able to produce. New television formats are rapidly being created and are causing the rise of cloud-based reality shows, where reality stars need a phone or a computer with a good network to be a part of a show. The viewer and and other contestants are simply calling in from their homes.

On a similar note, televised talk shows have come to resemble video conferences, with guests keeping the shows running by filming within their homes.

Now more than ever, we realize the importance of technology such as the internet because it affords us to stay connected. On a more social level, people are using #coronahelp on Twitter to get in touch with others in need of help, and offer help on an abundance of topics such as doing their groceries, dog sitting and babysitting. This shows how Twitter allows us to stay in touch with others and brings us in contact with people we have otherwise not been in contact with.

Moreover, an abundance of social activities now take place online. Students are still able to follow lectures, but instead of physically this now takes place virtually. For the younger (Dutch) students among us, television channels are changing their schedules and content in order to still provide educational material. For the people working at home, different technologies offer the possibility to still have lunch together with your colleagues.

Going out, inside

While it is no longer possible to go to the cinema, the implementation of a Watch Party in Facebook allows users to watch the same content together and to be able to talk about it. Facebook has partnered with global health organizations to share accurate information on disease prevention and connecting users with tools to help manage their communities.

Since the audience of concerts are no longer welcome due to the coronavirus, bands and artists like Coldplay and John Legend provide live 'concerts' via Instagram Live, YouTube and Facebook Live, so that people can still enjoy the performance.

Nightclubs closed? Not a problem. “Cloud Raves” are streamed on the internet, which millions of people watch. People are able to watch DJs perform on TikTok and can comment on them in real time, giving the illusion that everyone is partying together. Some people even say that partying in the cloud is better than in real life.

Online events like this have been around for a while, but its popularity is on the rise as many people in China are forced to sit at home due to the viral epidemic. During the cloud concerts, viewers will see edited images of previous performances by bands. In all technicality, it is not live, but the appeal is that you are all watching at the same time and you can share comments in real time.

Daily rituals, digitally

While our physical lives may have come to a stand-still, a lot of our daily rituals now take place in the virtual domain. With no more school to go to, closed gyms and not being able to go on holidays anymore, it is important to keep doing our daily rituals.

Think for instance about a work-out at home instead of going to the gym. There are a lot of options for the gym fanatics who would still like to keep in shape during this pandemic: such as online workout challenges or joining workouts from the rooftop, and perhaps even to join the Corona Fit body bootcamp.

After all, at this moment we can benefit from developing digital daily rituals which still have the ability to support meaningful human connections, which are becoming more and more important, now more than ever.

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Imagine waking in the night, and feeling the vibrations of an earthquake on the other side of the world pulsing through your body. This is a reality for Catalan-born artist Moon Ribas. How? She proudly proclaims: "I'm a cyborg."

Two implants located in Ribas' feet are connected to online seismic sensors, which send real-time vibrations through her body whenever an earthquake takes place. The strength of the vibrations correspond with the veracity of seismic movements. "Before, I knew Earth was a living organism, now I feel it", says Ribas. A more recent implant also allows her to sense moonquakes. So, although she may physically dwell on earth, her feet feel the moon.

Ribas' new-found seismic sense allows her to surpass the limitations of human perception, and sync her body with the often incomprehensible scales and movements of natural phenomena. She shares the impact of her cyborg status with others through the medium of dance. For her performance "Waiting for Earthquakes", Ribas uses her body to communicate the sensations she feels: “Earth is my choreographer, she tells me when to move, she marks the rhythm."

Ribas sees technology as an opportunity to change our relationship with our surroundings: "now that I’m a cyborg, I don’t feel closer to machines or to robots, I feel closer to nature, because I can feel my planet, and I feel closer to other animal species because I can feel earthquakes like other animals can. If we could extend our senses in order to perceive and understand our planet in a deeper way, our behavior would change." Ribas fiercely believes we can all expand our perception and become "senstronauts." Instead of changing the world, she asks us "to be brave enough to transform ourselves."

Along with childhood friend and fellow cyborg Niel Harbisson, Moon Ribas co-founded the Cyborg Foundation in 2010. The foundation is an international organization that aims to help people become cyborgs, defend cyborg rights and promote cyborg art. In 2017, she formed the Transpecies society, a group that gives a voice to non-human identities and defends the right to self-design.

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Data Dating is an exhibition that explores what it means to find romance in the internet age. Love it or hate it, technology has transformed the way we date. So, how are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships, and what happens when passion runs free in both offline and online spaces?

Bringing together the works of several international artists, Data Dating reveals new forms of intimate communication, contemplates the commodification of love through dating apps, and investigates the renegotiation of sexual identities and changing erotic taboos - all in relation to new dating technologies and the complexities that surround them.

So, get yourself out there and find out what the future of romance may hold!

What? An exploration into what happens when dating meets data
Where?  Watermans Arts Centre, London 
When? January 15 - March 1, 2020

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Driving long distances without a passenger can be lonely. If you’ve ever done it, you might have wished for a companion to talk to – someone emotionally intelligent who can understand you and help you on the road. The disembodied voice of SatNav helps to fill the monotonous silence, but it can’t hold a conversation or keep you safe.

Research on driverless cars is well underway, but less is heard about the work being done to make cars a smart companion for drivers. In the future, the cars still driven by humans are likely to become as sensitive and attentive to their driver’s needs as another person. Sound far-fetched? It’s closer than you might think.

1. Ask your car questions

We’re already familiar with AI in our homes and mobile phones. Siri and Alexa answer questions and find relevant search items from around the web on demand. The same will be possible in cars within the near future. Mercedes are integrating Siri into their new A-class car. The technology can recognise the driver’s voice and their way of speaking – rather than just following a basic set of commands, the AI could interpret meaning from conversation in the same way another person could.

2. From the screen to your drive

Those with longer memories may remember a talking car that was a regular on TV. Knight Rider and its super intelligent KITT was a self-aware car that was fiercely loyal to Michael, the driver. Though KITT’s mounted flame thrower and bomb detector might not make it into commercial vehicles, drivers could talk to their cars through a smart band on their wrists. The technology is being developed to allow people to start their car before they reach it, to warm the seats, to set the destination on the navigation system, flash the lights, lock the doors and sound the horn – all from a distance with voice command.

3. Big Motor is watching you

A driver alert system already exists that, through a series of audible and vibrating gestures, tries to keep the driver awake or warn them against sudden lane departure. By 2021 though, there are plans to install in-car cameras to monitor a driver’s behaviour.

If the driver looked away from the road for a period of time, or appeared drunk or sleepy, the car would take action. This might start with slowing down and alerting a call centre for someone to check on the driver, but if the driver didn’t respond, the car could take control, slow down and park in a safe place. The potential to improve road safety is promising, but there are credible concerns for what in-car cameras could mean for individual privacy.

4. A cure for road rage

Increasingly intelligent and perceptive cars won’t stop at visual cues. An AI assistant has been developed which can pick up on the driver’s mood and well-being by detecting their heart rate, eye movements, facial expressions and the tone of their voice. It’s suggested the car would learn the driver’s habits and interact with them by, for example, playing the driver’s favourite music to calm them down. It can also suggest some nice places to go – perhaps a nearby café or park – where the driver could stop to improve their state of mind.

5. A butler on the road

As technology is developed to monitor the mood of drivers, the next step may be cars which can act to improve them. Autonomous vehicles which can take over driving when drivers are stressed could change the windscreen display to show photographs or peaceful scenes. Smart glass windscreens could even black out the surroundings entirely to create a tranquil space – known tentatively in ongoing research as “cocoon mode” – where the interior is invisible from outside and the occupants can rest while the car drives. Cars might even dispense snacks and drinks on demand from refrigerated cartridges, using technology that’s under development but not scheduled to make its debut until 2035.

Whether for good or ill, cars are likely to change beyond recognition in the near future. It may no longer be ridiculous to think that the wildest science fiction dreams could be driving us to work in the not so distant future.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Imagine you could communicate telepathically with a whale, listen to the WiFi networks in your environment, or experience smells through seeing color. Developments in technology give us the rare opportunity to expand and augment our sensorial capabilities, and relate to other (non-)human life forms in various hybrid forms.

The world we live in changes constantly, but the senses we use to perceive it remain the same. Next Senses explores the unchartered territory of how we could experience the world with technology.

Ask yourself; if you could have another sense, which would you choose?

Next Senses, today

Some attempts have already been made to expand our perception with ‘next’ senses. Cyborg artist Neil Harbisson has a camera mounted on his head that translates colors into a vibration that he can hear, allowing him to hear colors.

Cybernetics professor Kevin Warwack has implanted sensors in the nerves of his left arm, which communicate with the sensors in his wife’s hand, allowing them to share the feeling of touch. There is also a group of people, so-called grinders or bio-hackers, who experiment with DIY magnetic implants with which they can detect electromagnetic fields.

Five augmented senses

Next Senses is an ongoing research project that consists of five future scenarios, set in parallel worlds where biology and technology have fully merged. Enjoy:

#1 Synesthesia

Synesthesia is a rare phenomenon where a sensation in one of the senses, such as smell, triggers a sensation in another, such as sight. Synesthetes can taste sounds, smell colors or even see scents. Now, synesthesia could be made widely accessible through technology. Imagine how your perception of the world would change when you can see certain scents.

#2 Electronic Empathy

For people who experience difficulties in identifying and describing feelings, the world can be a confusing place. They may experience an emotion, but are unsure which emotion it is. Electronic Empathy is a ‘third-eye’ implant that runs on facial recognition algorithms and is directly projected onto its users’ sight. It may help those in need detect the emotion they were looking for in the first place.

#3 Skin Waves

While humans have sought to discover, name, chart and plot every inch of land on the planet, the deepest depths of our oceans remain unknown. Skin Waves allows its user to feel the frequencies of whale sounds coursing through their bones, enabling a multispecies relationship as a way to deepen their spiritual relationship to nature.

#4 Baby Code

The link between a parent and child is profound, both physical and emotional factors influence the parent-child bonding process, and this bond can only strengthen over time. Baby Code imagines a future in which parents can use sensor technology that allows them to cater exactly what their newborn needs.

#5 WiFi Angels

WiFi radiation is all around, yet invisible to our human senses. Imagine you could hear WiFi. Every area has its own soundscape. Streets, parks, subways, hotels, highways and beaches all sound different. WiFi Angels allows its user to sense electromagnetic radiations by turning the WiFi networks around them into a choir of singing angels.

Looking for more? Good!

What senses can we develop to look at our world from an alternative perspective? Our talks present a richer understanding of nature. Our speakers present inspiring Stories for Change: new narratives on possible and preferable futures in which biology and technology are fusing. Curious? Get in touch!

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term 'biohacking'? Perhaps you are now thinking of a bunch of kids sitting in their kitchen with a DNA kit, (wannabe) cyborgs inserting subcutaneous chips in their bodies, or perhaps a person striving for optimum performance through a perfect lifestyle. These are all types of biohacking, but there's more to it. Here's what you need to know (and were too afraid to ask).

Bulletproof coffee

The problem with biohacking is that all the examples outlined above are true. Amateur biotechnologists, cyborgs and supporters of a healthy lifestyle all associate themselves with the term biohacking.

Within the latter group, which I call the lifestyle optimizers, Dave Asprey is the guru. Asprey is the frontman of the American brand Bulletproof. Among other things, this brand sells special coffee that you must mix with butter and coconut oil. The promised result: instant focus, without any sugar crash and hours of satiation.

A brief bio of biohacking

But what exactly do we mean when we speak of 'biohacking'? The term was first used in 1988 in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. The article described the possibilities to perform all kinds of technological experiments from your basement. This included DNA analysis, the cultivation of bacteria and testing the effect of viruses on fungi. Today, this definition is still dominant for the group of amateur biotechnologists.

Within the other two groups, the cyborgs and the lifestyle optimizers, biohacking is aimed at people. In using the term, the link to computers is made: just consider how computerhackers break into hardware and software vs. biohackers grinding their own wetware.

The cyborgs take this notion quite literally, by implanting technology into their bodies, whereas lifestyle followers believe that you can improve the human body and prevent aging with smart nutrition, health hacks and useful gadgets.

Steam engines and other metaphors

The comparison with computer technology comes from our current technological paradigm. Yet in the past, the paradigm of that time was used to look at the human body.

At the time of the Industrial Revolution, the human brain was considered a constellation of pipes, steam and drive shafts. The saying "blowing off some steam" is also a good example of how people saw themselves as, well, a kind of steam engine.

These days we see the brain often described as an algorithm or hard disk and the body as a battery that needs to recharge. Keeping this in mind, the idea of biohacking is not that strange.

Technology after all, is what makes us human.

Shifting boundaries

Take something as simple as sight. In prehistoric times, your chances of survival were nil when suffering from poor vision. When the first glasses were made around 1200 AD, our ancestors most likely responded, “Your vision was given to you by God—why change that?"

As we have developed ourselves scientifically over time, so did our technology; as contact lenses are socially accepted today, does this also apply to smart contact lenses that have a Google Glass-like function tomorrow?

And what about LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), or commonly referred to as laser eye surgery. This technology is becoming more accessible, but how socially accepted is it to give yourself super vision like golf superstar Tiger Woods

This is my point: ethical boundaries of what we find socially acceptable are constantly shifting. That is what biohacking is about. Glasses are no longer biohacking, but smart contact lenses are.

Thinking ahead, one may wonder: Will glasses at some point become out-dated? Will everyone have genetically modified eyes for optimum vision?

Chances are, the next generations of biohackers will be at the forefront of these technologies. Perhaps they will replace their biological eyes with bionic ones. Perhaps they will simply change their diet.

Just like our technology, biohacking (and its dream and ideas that we have of ourselves) moves along the progress of mankind. But as with other technological developments, it's impossible to predict how these will evolve in the future. But there is one thing that we can be certain of. Things will change.

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Within a few years, it may be possible for premature babies to grow inside an artificial womb. And when that day arrives, should men be able to give birth to children? Should we externalize pregnancy with artificial wombs? And are these feminist dreams or frankenstein nightmares? Welcome to Reprodutopia, a debate on our reproductive futures.

A new narrative

For a long time the birds and the bees served us well to explain where our children come from. Yet radical developments in reproductive technology force us to rewrite this story.

Artificial wombs, gene editing techniques and reprogramming adult cells into eggs or sperm cells are revolutionary ways for human beings to reproduce, and appear to be closer than any of us can imagine.

It’s time for a much-needed discussion about the way technology radically alters our attitude towards reproduction, gender, relationships and love in the 21st century. If we are to rewrite the human story, let’s make sure it becomes a story that benefits all.

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You might already have what’s often called a “smart home”, with your lights or music connected to voice-controlled technology such as Alexa or Siri. But when researchers talk about smart homes, we usually mean technologies that use artificial intelligence to learn your habits and automatically adjust your home in response to them. Perhaps the most obvious example of this are thermostats that learn when you are likely to be home and what temperature you prefer, and adjust themselves accordingly without you needing to change the settings.

My colleagues and I are interested in how this kind of true smart home technology could help people with dementia. We hope it could learn to recognise the different domestic activities a dementia sufferer carries out throughout the day and help them with each one. This could even lead up to the introduction of household robots to automatically assist with chores.

The growing number of people with dementia is encouraging care providers to look to technology as a way of supporting human carers and improving patients’ quality of life. In particular, we want to use technology to help people with dementia live more independently for as long as possible.

Dementia affects people’s cognitive abilities (things like perception, learning, memory and problem-solving skills). There are many ways that smart home technology can help with this. It can improve safety by automatically closing doors if they are left open or turning off cookers if they are left unattended. Bed and chair sensors or wearable devices can detect how well someone is sleeping or if they have been inactive for an unusual amount of time.

Lights, TVs and phones can be controlled by voice-activated technology or a pictorial interface for people with memory problems. Appliances such as kettles, fridges and washing machines can be controlled remotely.

People with dementia can also become disoriented, wander and get lost. Sophisticated monitoring systems using radiowaves inside and GPS outside can track people’s movements and raise an alert if they travel outside a certain area.

All of the data from these devices could be fed in to complex artificial intelligence that would automatically learn the typical things people do in the house. This is the classic AI problem of pattern matching (looking for and learning patterns from lots of data). To start with, the computer would build a coarse model of the inhabitants’ daily routines and would then be able to detect when something unusual is happening, such as not getting up or eating at the usual time.

A finer model could then represent the steps in a particular activity such as washing hands or making a cup of tea. Monitoring what the person is doing step by step means that, if they forget halfway through, the system can remind them and help them continue.

The more general model of the daily routine could use innocuous sensors such as those in beds or doors. But for the software to have a more detailed understanding of what is happening in the house you would need cameras and video processing that would be able to detect specific actions such as someone falling over. The downside to these improved models is a loss of privacy.

Future smart homes could include robot carers. Via Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock

The smart home of the future could also come equipped with a humanoid robot to help with chores. Research in this area is moving at a steady, albeit slow, pace, with Japan taking the lead with nurse robots.

The biggest challenge with robots in the home or care home is that of operating in an unstructured environment. Factory robots can operate with speed and precision because they perform specific, pre-programmed tasks in a purpose-designed space. But the average home is less structured and changes frequently as furniture, objects and people move around. This is a key problem which researchers are investigating using artificial intelligence techniques, such as capturing data from images (computer vision).

Robots don’t just have the potential to help with physical labour either. While most smart home technologies focus on mobility, strength and other physical characteristics, emotional well-being is equally important. A good example is the PARO robot, which looks like a cute toy seal but is designed to provide therapeutic emotional support and comfort.

Understanding interaction

The real smartness in all this technology comes from automatically discovering how the person interacts with their environment in order to provide support at the right moment. If we just built technology to do everything for people then it would actually reduced their independence.

For example, emotion-recognition software could judge someone’s feelings from their expression could adjust the house or suggest activities in response, for example by changing the lighting or encouraging the patient to take some exercise. As the inhabitant’s physical and cognitive decline increases, the smart house would adapt to provide more appropriate support.

There are still many challenges to overcome, from improving the reliability and robustness of sensors, to preventing annoying or disturbing alarms, to making sure the technology is safe from cybercriminals. And for all the technology, there will always be a need for a human in the loop. The technology is intended to complement human carers and must be adapted to individual users. But the potential is there for genuine smart homes to help people with dementia live richer, fuller and hopefully longer lives.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Now that the team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb, this breakthrough raises ethical questions about the future of baby making on a global scale.

Therefore the BBC caught up with NNN designer Lisa Mandemaker, as part of their BBC 100 Women of 2019, on what it means to design an artificial womb.

The interview was recored during the buildup of Reprodutopia, our latest exhibition that presents thought-provoking visions of reproductive technologies.

What? The Reprodutopia Clinic expo
When? From 9 October  — 30 November 2019
Where? Droog Amsterdam

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Hooray! The team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology (whom we previously collaborated with to design a prototype for an artificial womb) has been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a working prototype of their artificial womb.

Artificial womb: a brief explainer

The artificial womb would provide premature babies with artificial respiration in conditions close to a biological womb. Oxygen and nutrients would be delivered to the baby through an umbilical cord-like tube. Inside, the baby would be protected by a substance close to amniotic fluid.

Guid Oei, a professor at the university and a practicing gynaecologist, says that the conditions of current incubators are too harsh for premature babies born without fully developed lungs or intestines. As a result, attempts to deliver oxygen and nutrients directly to the organs often result in lasting damage and survival rates are low for babies less than 22 weeks old.

“Within five years it will be possible for a premature baby to continue to mature in an artificial womb”
Guid Oei, gynecologist

Indeed, the model is revolutionary in that “when we put the [babies] lungs back under water then they can develop, they can mature [...] the baby will receive the oxygen by the umbilical cord, just like in the natural womb,” Oei explains. The researchers hope that the artificial womb will be ready for use in clinics within five years.

The technology needed to create the artificial womb has been tested on lambs using so-called bio bags. Lambs born at the equivalent of 23 weeks of human pregnancy continued to develop within the biobags and, after being removed, grew up normally.

The power of design

It's interesting to see how a visualization — that was initially created to spark conversation about scientific developments in reproductive technology — is now at the forefront of media reporting of the research grant.

The design was conceptualized and visualised by Next Nature designer-in-chief Hendrik-Jan Grievink, in close collaboration with the team of Guid Oei, for Dutch Design Week 2018.

The unique collaboration between Máxima Medical Centre and Next Nature Network is part of an ongoing research into the impact of technology on the future of biological reproduction, intimacy and relationships: Welcome to Reprodutopia.

Want to see it for yourself? You can! The prototype is currently on display at the Reprodutopia expo in Amsterdam. During your visit, challenge and ask yourself: How will we live, love and reproduce in next nature?

What? The Reprodutopia Clinic expo
When? From 9 October  — 30 November 2019
Where? Droog Amsterdam

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At this moment in time, many people are staying at home in order to flatten the curve. It is times like these that we realize how vital technology is to us and our societies. It provides us with the possibility to work remotely, to be able to keep up with the news and its latest developments, and it provides us with the ability to (video) call with our family and friends, and more importantly, it keeps us connected to each other. Despite the fact that people are physically distancing themselves, it is in many cases still possible to attend social activities — from celebrating birthday parties to a virtual bar mitzvah — all thanks to technology.

Being alone, together

Television is finding a way to change its content in order to still be able to produce. New television formats are rapidly being created and are causing the rise of cloud-based reality shows, where reality stars need a phone or a computer with a good network to be a part of a show. The viewer and and other contestants are simply calling in from their homes.

On a similar note, televised talk shows have come to resemble video conferences, with guests keeping the shows running by filming within their homes.

Now more than ever, we realize the importance of technology such as the internet because it affords us to stay connected. On a more social level, people are using #coronahelp on Twitter to get in touch with others in need of help, and offer help on an abundance of topics such as doing their groceries, dog sitting and babysitting. This shows how Twitter allows us to stay in touch with others and brings us in contact with people we have otherwise not been in contact with.

Moreover, an abundance of social activities now take place online. Students are still able to follow lectures, but instead of physically this now takes place virtually. For the younger (Dutch) students among us, television channels are changing their schedules and content in order to still provide educational material. For the people working at home, different technologies offer the possibility to still have lunch together with your colleagues.

Going out, inside

While it is no longer possible to go to the cinema, the implementation of a Watch Party in Facebook allows users to watch the same content together and to be able to talk about it. Facebook has partnered with global health organizations to share accurate information on disease prevention and connecting users with tools to help manage their communities.

Since the audience of concerts are no longer welcome due to the coronavirus, bands and artists like Coldplay and John Legend provide live 'concerts' via Instagram Live, YouTube and Facebook Live, so that people can still enjoy the performance.

Nightclubs closed? Not a problem. “Cloud Raves” are streamed on the internet, which millions of people watch. People are able to watch DJs perform on TikTok and can comment on them in real time, giving the illusion that everyone is partying together. Some people even say that partying in the cloud is better than in real life.

Online events like this have been around for a while, but its popularity is on the rise as many people in China are forced to sit at home due to the viral epidemic. During the cloud concerts, viewers will see edited images of previous performances by bands. In all technicality, it is not live, but the appeal is that you are all watching at the same time and you can share comments in real time.

Daily rituals, digitally

While our physical lives may have come to a stand-still, a lot of our daily rituals now take place in the virtual domain. With no more school to go to, closed gyms and not being able to go on holidays anymore, it is important to keep doing our daily rituals.

Think for instance about a work-out at home instead of going to the gym. There are a lot of options for the gym fanatics who would still like to keep in shape during this pandemic: such as online workout challenges or joining workouts from the rooftop, and perhaps even to join the Corona Fit body bootcamp.

After all, at this moment we can benefit from developing digital daily rituals which still have the ability to support meaningful human connections, which are becoming more and more important, now more than ever.

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