JKU LIT @ Ars Electronica

The Elephant in the Room

Melanie Baumgartner (AT), Florian Hartmann (AT), David Preninger (AT)​

Nature-inspired robotics is collaborative, adaptable and ecological. With biodegradable and edible materials, new technologies that interact sustainably with humans and nature emerge. Imitations of an elephant’s trunk embody such soft nature-inspired robots and interact quite naturally with visitors in Kepler’s Gardens.

The Elephant in the Room

Can we sustainably develop technology by design? Facing ever-growing amounts of e-waste – 50 million tons of it in 2019 alone – sustainability must become a principle of research and development. New trends, ranging from bio-inspired robotics to personalized healthcare and monitoring, create undreamt-of possibilities for a worthwhile future. Innovation that is sustainable is innovation that remains. With this vision in mind, The Elephant in the Room presents how technology can progress ecologically. Robots from biodegradable and edible materials become state-of-the-art through human-machine collaboration. The soft, nature-inspired designs imitate living beings in material, form and movement, and thus pave the path to a smart, sustainable future.


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Project Credits / Acknowledgements

This project is supported by the LIT Soft Materials Lab and Division for Soft Matter Physics (SoMaP), Johannes Kepler Universität
Supported by Land Oberösterreich


​Melanie Baumgartner ― a researcher at Johannes Kepler University born in Traun― has set herself the goal to make her work in sustainable, degradable robotics and electronics a reality.

Florian Hartmann ― hailing from Graz, Austria― is physicist developing bio-inspired soft robotics and stretchable electronics at the Johannes Kepler University Linz.

David Preninger ― from Wels― is developing biodegradable soft actuators for his Master’s in Technical Physics at Johannes Kepler University.

Johannes Kepler Universtät