Berlin, May 8, 2019

Inaugural VDEI get-together at
re:publica 19 in Berlin

 

VDEI members came together for the very first time today at the association’s inaugural get-together. Setting was one of the world’s largest conferences for digital culture, the re:publica, which attracted more than 25,000 visitors this year.

The VDEI also hosted a panel discussion at re:publica in the Human Touch section entitled “Exoskeletons and the next phase bionics”. VDEI members attending the get-together had the chance to get to know each other better and discuss current topics in the field, while also looking into the areas the VDEI should focus more closely upon in the future.

 
Members of the VDEI Scientific Committee, Prof. Herbert Schuster and Dr. Julia Schneider put the exoskeletons of German Bionic and Laevo to the test during the get-together session at re:publica 19.

Members of the VDEI Scientific Committee, Prof. Herbert Schuster and Dr. Julia Schneider put the exoskeletons of German Bionic and Laevo to the test during the get-together session at re:publica 19.

 

Following a welcome and brief get-to-know-each-other session during which members and other guests introduced themselves to each other, there was the chance to try out some exoskeleton models personally that representatives from Laevo and German Bionic had brought along. The group then made their way through the re:publica exhibition area to the venue of the VDEI-organized panel discussion “Exoskeletons and the next phase bionics”, where the VDEI members Dr. Julia Schneider and Rian Whitton were joined on the panel stage by Dr. Bernhard Kaplan, Data Scientist at German Bionic and Dr. Athanasios Karafillidis of Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg.   

While the lively one-hour panel discussion covered topics including the anticipated meteoric growth in exoskeletons and that they represent a great opportunity for society – especially in view of health and ageing workforces – it also explored the challenges being faced by the exoskeleton industry, including the questions of acceptance and potential ethical issues. 

 
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On stage at the VDEI-organized panel discussion “Exoskeletons and the next phase bionics” at re:publica 2019: (from left to right) Rian Whitton (ABI Research); Dr. Bernhard Kaplan (German Bionic); Dr. Athanasios Karafillidis (Helmut Schmidt University); Dr. Julia Schneider (Labour Market Researcher and AI Consultant); and moderator Eric Eitel.

At the lunch meeting that followed the panel discussion, VDEI members agreed to intensify efforts to address the current challenges in the industry and find approaches to make exoskeletons more widely accepted and become a so-called charismatic technology, while simultaneously also looking into defining potential ethical standards associated with the deployment of exoskeletons.