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Katrin Baumgarten: Creating Technology That Has A Mind Of Its Own

At PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON, designer Katrin Baumgarten shared her interest in anthropomorphized objects and machines.

Nora Woloszczuk

At PSFK CONFERENCE LONDON, designer Katrin Baumgarten shared her interest in anthropomorphized objects and machines, which have historically been viewed as simultaneously repulsive and fascinating. For example, the “Black Box” that turns itself on after it’s turned off.

Baumgarten is currently exploring how machines can be more human and even negative, expressing their own desires. She presented two inventions: the first was a rotating, motion-sensor teapot which squirts water at those who it detects in its path. The second, and quite amusing, is a leather lounge chair with feather dusters that dance with music that’s plugged into the chair. As soon as someone sits down, the feathers invade the person’s space, interacting with them.

Some highlights from the talk:

  • We shouldn’t be afraid of technology – we are in a mutually beneficial relationship with it.
  • Design is beginning to explore what autonomous machines look like.
Images: The Partners
Nora Woloszczuk
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