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Target_is_New - Issue #133

Welcome to weeknotes edition 133; looking back and forward, sharing and reflecting on some interesting news on IoT, and relations with intelligent things and robots.
Speaking of that. This week we are entering the weeks of events. March is always an intense month for some bigger events I tend to follow and/or visit. Like SXSW that starts next week, and Mozfest, which I always missed, until this year I hope. Runs for two weeks and has too many sessions to prevent FOMO I am afraid… And this week it is interesting for the human-robot-interactions. I will follow the academic conference HRI2021 that - just like SXSW - will be an evening experience due to timezones.
Also; Thursday evening and Friday (CET) the conference Public Spaces is held, interesting for those interested in the public values in smart cities and mediated spaces.
In a way, I am happy the conferences are in the evening, and online, as time is always limited. On the other hand, I truly miss the shift to the “other dimension” a conference can be when visited abroad. A good way to disconnect a bit and focus. Much harder with these online versions…
From last week I have no events to report on. I had to miss the PhD defense of Cristina Zaga, but will try to check it out later.
In the Cities of Things Lab-related activities, there were meetings with 4 of the 5 graduation students, and presentations by the 8 teams of the minor Design Connected Experiences on their concepts for “things that predict” in the city. A pleasant surprise all the teams had a different topic. I will take some time later to add the projects to the website. As an overall reflection, it is a challenge to unlock the value of really autonomously interacting objects that form a different counterpart than ‘just’ contextual information touchpoints. Building communities of objects, longer dialogues is a new lens on the city. Now they will also add the predictive knowledge. Looking forward to seeing what that will change.
In other news: nice to see that the ThingsCon initiative of the Trustmark is part of the NYC IoT regulations, check this post of Peter Bihr to learn more. We will organize some sessions on these principles in April and May by the way. The program for the IoT Masterclass in Rotterdam is now online, and we will organize 3 workshops in April and May with IoT Eindhoven. By the way; check also the latest ‘Getting Tech Right’-podcast from Peter with Anab Jain on speculative evidence among other things.

News of last week
Let’s jump into the news articles of last week. Remarkable explorations on nature-tech symbioses with a robotic angle. And the usual round of new applications for Spot the robot-dog, and for delivery pods. Also in legislation; how do they have a place in the city. Maybe start with a round of autonomous vehicles and levels of autonomy…
Levelling up autonomy
The future of electric cars isn’t Tesla. It’s golf carts.
Honda launches next generation Honda SENSING Elite safety system with Level 3 automated driving features in Japan
Driverless autonomous trucks lead the way
Human-less autonomy, and dogs
Safeway to test robot delivery
Uber spins out delivery robot startup as Serve Robotics
Real estate group in Las Vegas launches fully autonomous security robot
Robot dogs the newest ’employees’ at Alberta Shell refinery
The (robotic) doctor will see you now
Sidewalk robots get legal rights as "pedestrians"
Synthetic nature robotics
Researchers introduce a new generation of tiny, agile drones
Biohybrid robot wired to “hear” using locust’s ear
A submersible soft robot survived the pressure in the Mariana trench | New Scientist
Scientists have engineered spinach plants that know how to send emails
And to close, some other news...
Bjarke Ingels and Xiye Bastida on Designing the Ideal City
That's all!
Hope you think it is not too much :) It is a long list. Let me know if you think this is too much, or just fine. I also changed the layout a bit with a new template Getrevue is providing. Cleaner, I like it!
I hope I can share some interesting insights from the HRI conference and other events. Have a great week!
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Iskander Smit
Iskander Smit @iskandr

I am working @Infonl as innovation director, also blogger, co-organising @ThingsCon & Behavior Design AMS meetup #bdams
Visiting researcher and lab-director at TU Delft Industrial Design Engineering (

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