Looking to the future: FUTURO 50/50

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Future climate scenario: Tents made of recycled material offer shelter to climate refugees. (Image: Philipp Brodbeck / TUM)

06.03.2018,  Research news

Nanotechnology, robotics, virtual reality, artificial intelligence – how will today’s technologies change the world of tomorrow? Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are now presenting seven future scenarios as part of the FUTURO 50/50 exhibition running until March 18, 2018 at the Pinakothek der Moderne. The results will presented there on Tuesday, March 6, at 6 p.m.

Finnish architect Matti Suuronen constructed the FUTURO exactly 50 years ago. These transportable, UFO-shaped buildings were the world’s first plastic houses. Visitors can currently admire and explore a restored Futuro at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. However, this vision of the future, popular in the 1960s, is now history itself.

The world in 2068

How will current technologies influence the world of the future? How will we live and work in 50 years? The curators of the Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum asked TUM researchers for their input on the matter. A team of 28 students from the Industrial Design and Architecture master’s degree programs conducted research in various faculties as they developed different forward-looking scenarios. The Pinakothek der Moderne is now showcasing the results of the project in the exhibition FUTURO 50/50.

“The scenarios are highly realistic, as all are based on the latest research findings,” explains the academic advisor on the project, Dr. Sandra Hirsch from the Chair of Industrial Design headed by Prof. Fritz Frenkler. “Our aim was to analyze the societal relevance of new technologies and in doing so create the framework for responsible design.

Digitization is changing life

An example of the digitization of tomorrow: A video shows how crimes will be solved 50 years in the future. The time-consuming search for clues will no longer be required as investigators can use augmented reality to see what happened at the crucial moment at the crime scene. To make this possible, a small device no larger than a 1 euro coin will be worn at the temple. At the touch of a button, this device then projects footage of the desired time and place onto the investigator’s contact lens. The data used to replay these past events is sourced from CCTV and mobile telephones, which will be stored centrally in future and evaluated by smart algorithms to allow footage to be found and viewed in a specific, targeted manner.

The mobility scenario is another fascinating example. This shows how travelers will travel rapidly from one side of town to the other in future without any delays. Autonomous cars and shared taxis, buses and trams are organized in a smart control system and optimally managed. Traffic jams and long waits at traffic lights therefore become a thing of the past.

The challenge of climate change

Other exhibits demonstrate how people can deal with the consequences of climate change: Farmers who live in river deltas and have lost their livelihoods due to the rise in sea levels receive survival kits which contain everything required to convert plastic waste into new farmland. The waste is bundled up into islands and treated with bacteria cultures that break down the plastic, transforming it into fertile soil. The new islands can be fixed in place with mangroves in shallow water.

Design with practical benefits

The students developed seven scenarios as part of the FUTURO 50/50 project. In addition to digitization, mobility and climate change, the effects of new technologies on education, health, humanity and environment were examined and developed into concrete case studies.

 

More information

The FUTURO 50/50 project was supported by FOLDART, Stahlbau Pichler and the Hans Sauer Stiftung.

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