Research Projects XLab


As an overarching theme of XLab, we are studying the opportunities for creative technological collaboration between robotics and artificial intelligence. Co-creation is both the paradigm and the aim that we examine in our podcast, Towards Co-Creation, with other artists, designers, and researchers. However, our examination of AI and robotics as an extension of the design tool palette must always go hand in hand with critical scrutiny of the technologies, their impact on society, deficits, and limitations.

AI Myths and Monstrosities

Alexa Steinbrück is researching how we think and talk about AI as a society. Which misunderstandings result? What myths have become embedded in the general discourse? In the public debate over AI, the levels of meaning of fiction (strong AI) and the actual state of research (narrow AI) are often confused. This is particularly problematic when people are speaking of the risks involved with AI. Alexa Steinbrück sheds light on how we can separate the two levels of meaning again.

Voice Assistants as Cultural Artefacts

In another area of research, Alexa Steinbrück studies and questions the phenomenon of voice assistants. As new cultural artefacts, they form and reinforce societal norms that are tied to gender, the role of AI, or the private sphere. At the theoretical and application-related levels, Alexa Steinbrück rethinks and rebuilds these devices – speculatively and proactively.

Reset vs Restart

In order to manifest digital designs and models in the physical world, the methods and tools of digital manufacturing are integral components of design. Following the “file-to-factory” principle, the design process has had to orientate itself to the requirements of manufacturing. On the one hand, this limits design practice and on the other hand, it eliminates our option to intervene in production. Once started, a process can only be halted and restarted but not changed.

Simon Maris’s project aims to supplement existing software controls with real-time-based systems. The approach promises greater flexibility and new spaces for design. Simon Maris is first examining three control mechanisms and demonstrating them based on prototypical designs as examples of haptic control, sensor-based control, and control via neural networks.