Europe’s largest interdisciplinary festival, the Tech Open Air, brought together the international tech and creative scene from 19.-22. June at Funkhaus Berlin for the seventh time. The unique festival-meets-conference format interweaves unexpected connections between some of the most diverse disciplines, such as technology, music, art, and science. This also included a track on mobility solutions for the future, fitting when one has Daimler as one of the main sponsors of the event.
Mobility talks included Mytaxi’s Torben Bursinski speaking about how the service is using new technologies to improve customer journeys and define future mobility by transforming a traditional business; Blockchain in cars – the Porsche – Xain Vehicle Network; and Joseph Constanty of NIU eScooters Joseph providing insights to how NIU disrupted the mobility world in China, and how it wants to create an ecosystem of collaboration in Europe.
Some unexpected talks also shone a light on mobility from other perspectives. NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps spoke about her personal journey to become one of the first African-American women in space, and what happened when she was told she would no longer be going on the mission. She also spoke about the commercialisation of space travel, and the possibilities of everyone going to the moon, and her own experiences of working at Ford as an engineer.
The talk “Alexa, what did my grandma’s house smell like? Senses, Memory & Tech” by Fritz Strempel and Sissel Tolaas of the Smell Re_search Lab Berlin explored how the human senses create hope for the digital age. One of these included more insight on smell coding, and how smell can become an invaluable sense for tech. Although humanity has been focused on our sense of sight, Tolaas and Strempel predict that our smell could prove useful in the development of autonomous cars. With smell sensors on cars and our sense of smell being linked to alertness, human mobility data and location data could work together for an abstract molecule coded for attention then being released through air conditioning at high risk areas to warn us and keep us more alert before an accident can happen.
Amol Sarva, the CEO of Knotel, presented the feats of imagination and architecture that will shape the cities of tomorrow, and discussed how these innovations will grow our human potential tenfold. One example was the proliferation of parking spaces around the world as more people were able to afford a vehicle. Now, with car- and ride-sharing gaining more and more traction, in future these parking spaces might not be needed anymore and could become new opportunities for real estate.
Or we might all be working on wheels soon.