Promising Technology:

AI & Robots

Our Art-Driven Innovation database includes projects from the following sub-fields of this theme:

A blockchain is a cryptographically secured and immutable data structure. It allows to keep trusted and verifiable records in a decentralized, even anonymous network. A blockchain can store information, e.g. on ownership of (even digital) assets, but also self-executing instructions or smart contracts when certain machine-verifiable conditions are met.

Chatbots are computer programs which conduct real-time conversations with humans, via written text or live audio, in order to provide a rich user interface to a computer or device. Modern chatbots rely on Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Deep Learning to understand the intent behind a human’s question and find the most appropriate response from structured or unstructured data sources.

Software aimed at analyzing information, identifying gaps and then using the best elements at its disposal to create something brand new. It uses scientific methodologies and, by merging existing features, produce creative results in ideas, strategies, software and solutions. The semi-autonomous AI systems producing these works are supported by human designers.

Driverless technology aims to operate transportation vehicles for people and goods in normal traffic conditions but without any human intervention. Autopilot technology developments focus on using fewer and cheaper sensors to detect the surroundings, moving traffic and unexpected events. Machine Learning is used to constantly improve the autonomous software and make better use of the sensor data as it encounters more different situations, including prediction of the intent of human traffic participants.

Speech recognition concerns itself with automatically recognizing spoken words and translating it into readable text or machine instructions. The technology is central to virtual assistants, virtual call agents, and similar human-machine interfaces, but is also used in biometric security. Developments include miniaturized, low-powered specialized chips, microphone technology and voice processors to improve sound quality, new natural language processing concepts and even lip reading and interpretation of user intent.

Swarm intelligence refers to the collective behavior of physical agents such as robots or drones, where each agent coordinates its actions with other (nearby) agents and with the environment. Through self-organization the swarm performs complicated tasks in a decentralized, emergent manner.

A drone is any kind of vehicle (air, land or sea) that is controlled by autopilot algorithms that optimizes for carrying out a defined mission or set of tasks. Developments include improved methods to build the drone’s internal world map, identify various objects or people, use new fuel sources for longer autonomous flights, miniaturization to insect-sizes or even biodegradation. Additionally, the field looks at (defense against) anti-drone measures such as drone guns or birds of prey.

Differently sized, fully autonomous robot vehicles are available to perform information gathering, item delivery, repair, rescue or clean-up tasks. Some will be able to operate for long periods, recharging and maintaining themselves as needed, in order to keep executing their mission.

Artificial Neural Networks or ANN is an information processing paradigm that is inspired by the way the biological nervous system such as brain process information. It is composed of large number of highly interconnected processing elements(neurons) working in unison to solve a specific problem.

A hologram is a true 3D image that can be viewed with the naked eye, so without any VR or 3D glasses, and relative to the position of the viewer. Holograms are three-dimensional recordings of wave fields that modulate the phase of light to give the illusion of three-dimensional depth. Acoustical holograms similarly reconstruct realistic 3D sound fields. Development is on increasing the hologram size, improving color realism and viewing properties and making them easier and cheaper to produce. This includes research into (nano- and meta-) materials for holographic displays, hologram printers, and touchable holograms.

Holographic interfaces create realistic imagery and sound reproduction with 360-degree freedom. Scene size will not be limited by the size of the source device, transforming the functional capabilities of wearable technology. Larger set-ups are widely used in teaching, training and entertainment settings.

A robotics platform that resembles the human in form, features and function. The purpose is to create a general-purpose robot for a wide range of tasks, so that they can replace humans in dangerous environments or low-value activities. Development includes mimicry of human functions (for example fiber muscles, body cooling, acrobatics or recovering from movement errors), on operator-robot interfaces, power-efficiency and control algorithms.

The broader hope is that the neuroscience of creativity would allow us not only to measure, but also to predict and to systematically influence imagination capacity.

Soft Robotics is concerned with machines inspired by biology and built out of materials similar to or mimicking those of organisms. Soft robots strive to move and adapt to changing physical structure of their environments like organisms do. Developments include tissue engineering to incorporate living muscle cells, materials science to allow different types of non-rigid robots or components, and novel ways of performing movements like swimming, crawling, gripping etc.

Touchless gestures are a form of Natural User Interface for interactions with machines via body movements, without touching the machine itself. Sometimes it involves wearables such as gesture gloves, which can detect hand motion or muscle contractions. More often the machine interprets the gesture based on remote sensing e.g. using echolocation, depth sensing cameras or proximity sensors. Developments also focus on data mining on gesture data and associated biometric data to estimate emotion and intent.

AR seamlessly overlays a virtual world on top of the user’s natural senses in real-time. It uses sensors to track people’s position and their points of attention and it requires 3D scanning or mapping of surroundings. An image can be projected on a phone, visor or goggles, or by directing light rays into the eye, e.g. with lasers.

Explanation texts per field are taken from and inspired on:
European Commission, 100 Radical Innovation Breakthroughs for the future (2019) ISBN 978-92-79-99139-4