Posts by Menno van Doorn

About Menno van Doorn

Menno van Doorn is Director of the Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT) in the Netherlands. He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 17 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored five books on the impact of new technology on business and society. Awards: IT Researcher of the Year in the Netherlands.

Robot as passengers on a plane


“First-ever flight by humanoid robot Athena as a paid passenger on a commercial passenger airline @Lufthansa”

That’s the airport of Los Angeles tweeting about a robot checking in as a human passenger on a flight. Isaac Asimov would have loved it. Athena it is called. The first humanoid robot to have paid for a seat on a plane. It boarded a Lufthansa flight to Germany on december 15. The robot checked in and collect its tickets before being strapped into the flight. It is being flown to Max Planck Institute for Computational Learning and Motor Control Laboratory in Baden-Württemberg.

The robot was built by robotics company Sarcos and purchased by Germany’s Max Planck Society, which will try to make her perform tasks too dangerous for humans (like cleanup after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima). But meanwhile the robot was transported in “off” position and didn’t perform any task in the plane while flying.

Don’t get over excited. [Read more…]

GPS-activism: Tracking your Trash and Poop

unnamedRecently some activists in St. Petersburg dropped waterproof GPS-trackers down their toilets. They found proof that the toilets flushed directly in open water without any sewer filtration. This is the journey the GPS-devices took.

unnamed (1)

[Read more…]

No Keyboard

skinput-touch-interface_1The keyboard to a computer is like the steering wheel to a car or like money to a wallet. What they have in common is that they all quickly disappear. And it’s for the better too, as less or no friction between intent and interaction will create new, yet unheard business opportunities in many different areas. The interface to computing and the network will be visual, audible, sensitive and ‘sensorized’. Enterprises that know how to take advantage of new ways of making contact to their customers, could equally reposition their existing business and create disruptive new business models. ‘Contact’ thus becomes the new ‘content’.

Close your eyes and imagine a scenario of the future. Does your self-driving car still have a steering wheel and does your computer still have a keyboard? The answer probably is no. The impact can hardly be overestimated, since all these interfaces involve important processes – like paying, transportation and the production and consumption of information. When all these processes change, man changes. From a business perspective the essential notion is that technology reduces interfaces, leading to easier contact and a radically different view on interaction and value. [Read more…]

Download the new VINT report: SMACT and the City

Download the new VINT report

Download the new VINT report

When will the Internet change our cities like it changed our lives? In the final Things report SMACT and the City we now take the city as the center of Things.

The convergence of bricks and clicks
The report shows how the five basic SMACT technologies are moving the creation of 21st century urban environments into top gear. We provide a status update on Smart Cities today and how developments like Senseable Cities and Cities as a Platform provide both new dynamics and opportunities for blending the digital and the physical infrastructure of our world together. The report provides a analysis of how this is already becoming a reality for retailers and presents what companies and organisations of all trades could learn from the accelerating convergence of bricks and clicks.

From the report:

  • The Internet of Things will change our cities.
  • The five basic technologies that form SMACT are moving urban development into top gear.
  • The digital architecture of the city is becoming a true development platform.
  • SMACT will transform the city into a platform to blend bricks and clicks seamlessly together.
  • The future of cities is about: platform solutions, pervasive applications, and sensible sensing technologies.
  • City as a Platform equals the infrastructural capacity plus the human dimension, the empowerment of behavior through data and applications.

Download the new VINT report

Download in English


Download in Dutch




How the connected world is changing the nature of creativity

Why do we make? Connecting: Makers examines how the connected world is changing the nature of creativity. When everyone is a maker, new possibilities emerge, but with them come new responsibilities about digital transparency, cultural awareness, and the role of the designer.

Connecting: Makers from Microsoft Design on Vimeo.

The passion of non-driving

Michelin has an annual Michelin Challenge Design to celebrate vehicle design. This was the winner of 2014, a car called “Bot”, the autonomous and friendly looking cab. It looks fun and you’re not driving. But you’re not driving when you take a taxi anyhow.


But can non-driving really be fun? Looking at the challenge for next year, Michelin has it doubts. This is how they formulated the new challenge “In the year 2030, at a time in which city driving is done autonomously due to high urban density, ‘driving for pleasure’ adventures will be found outside the cities,” [Read more…]

3D printing in the sky

3Dprinting1Like a child concentrating sunlight with a magnifying glass,  intense laser light can be “printed” into a tiny spot in the air. The system, has a possible value for advertisers, but could be used to send alerts and evacuation advisories during major natural disasters because they can be seen day and night and do not require screens.

The company that has developed this technology comes from Japan and is called Burton Inc. Here you see a projection that they are working on and hope to present in the near future. Instead of projecting three walking men, they’re also thinking on a version that projects the word ‘TSUNAMI’.

3Dprinting2 [Read more…]

The Near Future Of Implantable Technology

Jennifer French is the 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, a silver medalist in sailing, and a quadriplegic. She is the first woman to receive the implanted Stand and Transfer system, an experimental device that uses implanted electrodes and an external control device. French injured her spinal cord when snowboarding in 1998, but has since become an advocate for access to neurotechnological therapies, devices, and treatments. She is a co-founder and executive director of Neurotech Network, a non-profit organization focused on education and advocacy. French told her story in her book, On My Feet Again: My Journey Out of the Wheelchair Using Neurotechnology.

Computers In, People Out

This video is about the inevitability of robotization. More computers in and people out of the labor force. Thanks to my colleague Gerben Tijkken that sent me this video. A 15 minutes watch, but it’s worth it.

Anyone who’s read books like “Race Against the Machine”, “Average Is Over” or “Robots Will Steal Your Job But That’s Ok”, knows that machines are getting better in tasks that haven’t been automated (yet). How will the future be like, and what about your own job? Ar you better than a computer? Really?

Disruptive Innovation Festval

d2d1For anyone who’s looking for some inspiration this summer: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation will stage the first Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) in 2014. Bringing together thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, makers, learners and doers to catalyse system-level change for a future economy.

A challenged linear ‘take make and dispose’ economy can be replaced by a more prosperous regenerative and circular economy – is this the ultimate disruption?


An online festival on disruptive innovation with great speakers like Wired editor David Rowan and Rachel Botsman on the collaborative economy

Free registration here