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User Innovation Center

Between beer and big data with the Mayor


A stopover during the summer tour in the User Innovation Center: Jonas Sorgalla (left), research associate and adjunct lecturer at the Institute for the Digital Transformation of Application and Living Domains (IDiAL), prepared Mayor Thomas Westphal for the virtual reality goggles experience.

During his summer tour, Dortmund’s Mayor Thomas Westphal made a stop at the User Innovation Center (UIC) of Fachhochschule Dortmund - University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Guided by the motto "Dortmund gets easier", staff members of Fachhochschule Dortmund presented various prototypes and innovations from their respective research areas.

“Jonas Sorgalla and Philipp Heisig have put together a small expo dedicated to the topics of smart city, mobility and robotics along with other colleagues from the Institute for the Digital Transformation of Application & Living Domains (IDiAL)”, says Dr. Emine Bilek, Managing Director IDiAL. The expo includes, e.g., a robot hat maintains artificial turf (Project TurfRob(Opens in a new tab) ), an intelligent system for inspecting wastewater sewerage (Project iKannA ), innovations for sustainable mobility for parking and charging in the city (Project PuLS ) or a coffee machine with a user interface that adapts to the individual user (Project Plug-In ); as well as interior robotic systems for rescue robotics (A-DRZ  Project)  and the project OmniMan(Opens in a new tab) 

The guests were introduced to exciting research in the IDiAL building.

Students presented exhibits

Exhibits created by students in the faculties of Architecture(Opens in a new tab) , Design  and Computer Science  provided additional examples demonstrating the use of digitalization technologies in different areas of life, e.g., students from the Master's program “Digital Transformation(Opens in a new tab) )“ developed a flood warning system that works even without a network infrastructure. In the field of study “Digital Methods in Architecture", architecture students scanned real existing buildings in Dortmund, digitally enriched the models and made them virtually available (for example Bau.Kunst.Archiv(Opens in a new tab)  or Export 33(Opens in a new tab) ). On top of that, our guests Dr. Bastian Pelka and students of TU Dortmund University presented an exhibit from the area of rehabilitation sciences.

Possible applications for virtual reality

In addition to digital participation and the networked city, the stopover was also dominated by virtual reality and its many possible applications. Mayor Thomas Westphal did not miss the opportunity to try out one of the virtual reality goggles and immerse himself in a 360-degree film experience created by storyLab kiU(Opens in a new tab)  in collaboration with Theater Essen.

A lively discussion

At the end of the event, there was a fishbowl discussion "between big data and beer" attended by students and representatives of companies such as  Smart-City-Allianz(Opens in a new tab) . The lively discussion was about how cities can make their digitization offerings more secure and easier to understand in order to offer residents and companies services they can utilize and which benefit everyone.

User Innovation Center (UIC)

"The UIC is a project of IDiAL, the Institute for the Digital Transformation of Application and Living Domains", explains Prof. Dr. Sabine Sachweh, spokesperson for IDiAL. "It is a link between teaching, research and the business world and offers a space for information, innovation and co-production in regard to digital transformation.”

Digital omnipresence in almost all areas of work and life requires a central and flexible institution that can quickly adapt to evolving technologies. This is particularly noticeable in teaching, as it is grounded in the latest technical and methodological standards. Due to the high level of trans- and interdisciplinary connections in the field of digitalization, the various faculties with their decentralized special laboratories and teaching formats, are having a hard time to implement the new technologies. Here, the UIC provides a space to encourage transdisciplinary digital transformation.

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