field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Social citythings in the IoTRotterdam hackathon

As announced in the latter post the field lab Cities of Things Lab010 was invited to organize the hackathon together with Creating010 and Civic Prototyping Lectorate of this year’s IoTRotterdam event. In the end, four teams participated and build some very nice citythings; autonomous moving objects on the streets of our near-future cities. The goal of the citythings was not defined and part of the process of the teams. Great to see it turned out most of the teams made the decision to let the citythings take a social role in the city life.

The winning team and the judges

The winning team presented their project Kickbots. The team did a quick research on the street to define their strategy for a citything that aims to be an intervention in early-stage unrest on the streets. By making a self-moving boxing ball that feels where the tension is heating the so-called sting is taken out of a potential conflict or escalation.

After building the prototype using the wizard-of-oz robot platform the team did test the Kickbot on the street and verified the attractiveness of the interaction.

Help on the spot when needed

The second winner made a citything called Mobeh that functions as a moveable AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Especially for people living on the streets but also for other emergencies Mobeh can run to help out with a selection of first aid tools.

The ‘Mobile Support Robot’ did have a social angle as the team foresee a role in helping out people living on the street that do not have direct access to health support unless they are lucky enough to have someone care about them.

Mobeh in the process of construction

Support carrying loads

The third prize was for the citything had a less social goal. The Baghopper aims to help people carry a heavy load. The main focus was on tourists that find it harder to carry bags and the Baghopper can be a welcoming friend of the city. It can combine some city tour-guiding at the same time.

Team Baghopper with the 3rd prize

Honorable mention for storytelling

The heat and time pressure of a hackathon can lead to unexpected turns or bad luck. Team Hypnos started off with a concept that had the same goal as the winner, making interventions on heating up streets. The prototype did not survive the first test round so the team decided to pivot and use the research to make a statement on the forgotten – or worse; the neglected and denied position of homeless people in the city. To prevent sleeping homeless people the city of Rotterdam ruled to forbid staying put on the street. As strategy, they want to offer the homeless a moving stretcher that breaks this rule. It turns out while testing that the police on the street did not see it as a stretcher though, but as a vehicle without a license. The presentation did make a great case nevertheless and used the opportunity to make a provotype instead of a prototype.

Teams on the move with the citythings from VONK to Het Nieuwe Instituut

Follow-up planned

The hackathon was a great success we think. First of all we had a great location thanks to the Innovation team of the municipality of Rotterdam. This was the first event to test it out as a creative maker space, and there will be much more to come. Keep an eye on the website

A timelapse of the work in VONK Innovation Center

Thanks to the wizard-of-oz platform it was possible to focus on the interactions of the citythings on the street. We learned a lot on improving this for future use, something the graduation student Demi van Bentveld is focusing on in her project.

We invite the teams to develop further on the projects if they like. Especially the connection with other sensors and objects and the intelligence and agency of the objects can benefit from more time to flesh out. We aim to publish more on the learnings from this hackathon and the follow-up actions. We hope we can iterate and share results during the ThingsCon conference 9 & 10 June.

From Cities of Things Lab010 thanks to all teams and the jury for their contributions!