At this year’s Alpbach Technology Symposium, Manfred Tscheligi again chaired a breakout session on “Innovation by Making: Paradigm Shifts and New Innovation Cultures“ (coordinated by Verena Fuchsberger). The breakout session was a follow-up to several previous events that the Center for HCI organised on fabrication, i.e., a workshop at Critical Alternatives 2015, an expert summit in Salzburg in autumn 2015 on Rethinking Technology Innovation, and a 2016 CHI workshop.

The breakout session took place in the afternoon of August 26, 2016, starting with an introductory statement by Brigitta Pallauf, President of Salzburg’s Regional Parliament. The subsequent sessions provided a platform to intensively discuss the role of making and (industrial) production for innovation. Six key experts provide impulse statements on their understanding and vision of innovation:

  • Georg BAUER (Vice President Engineering, STRATEC Consumables GmbH, Salzburg)
  • Jana KOLAR (Executive Director CERIC-ERIC; EIT, Governing Board Member; ERA Council Forum Austria, Member)
  • Günter LEPPERDINGER (Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Salzburg)
  • Silvia LINDTNER (Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor/Michigan)
  • Gerfried STOCKER (Artistic Director, Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, Linz)
  • Martin ZAUNER (Global Product Manager Digitalisation, Palfinger AG, Bergheim)



Summary of the breakout session:

The breakout session was opened by Manfred Tscheligi (University of Salzburg, Austria), who, after welcoming the speakers and participants, handed over to Brigitta Pallauf (President of Salzburg’s Regional Parliament) for an introductory statement. Therein, she emphasized that innovation is key to social and economic growth and wellbeing. In Salzburg, government, research, and industry aim to collaborate to be at the forefront of innovation, including support for makers and maker communities. After this introductory statement, Manfred Tscheligi gave an overview of the topic by depicting different dimensions of fabrication. These dimensions were identified in previous events organized by the Center for HCI (University of Salzburg), and provided the starting points for the breakout session.

The first talk session focused on “The Art of Innovation – Making with Technology”. First, Günter Lepperdinger (University of Salzburg, Austria) talked about the biological notion of making, and what this notion tells us about processes of making. For instance, our understanding of market places may be complemented by considering them as Agoras, i.e., places of meaning, of exchange, of working together. Afterwards, Jana Kolar (CERIC-ERIC; EIT; ERA Council Forum Austria) discussed the role of personal fabrication in innovation processes, arguing that European innovation systems need to change to allow novel forms of innovation, e.g., by supporting makers, by creating business models and ecosystems that allow fablabs to grow, etc. The third speaker of this session, Gerfried Stocker (Ars Electronica Linz GmbH, Linz, Austria), reflected on what makers are and their impact on how we understand and structure our world in terms of innovation and communal life. Provocatively, he asks why makers are hyped nowadays (a notion that changed tremendously in the past few decades) both in industry and from policy, questioning hopes and assumptions that everyone can be a maker and propel (economic) innovation.

The discussion that followed this first set of impulse talks addressed how we can establish and maintain cooperation for innovation, such as allowing for reciprocity and different goals / purposes of making to coexist. Further, current ways of dealing with innovations have been discussed, e.g., whether the current patent system is beneficial or outdated. Further, relations between open source and commercialization have been discussed, and how they both contribute to innovation, economy, and societal development. Harvesting creativity by integrating different expertise and practices seems to be crucial, requiring novel forms of leadership, strategies of HR, policies, etc.

The second session addressed “Participation in Innovation – Making & Hacking Products”. The first speaker of this session, Georg Bauer (STRATEC Consumables GmbH, Salzburg, Austria), illustrated how the Medical Device Industries deal with innovation. The MedTech industry is very much driven by SMEs, who are challenged by the need to create links between specialists in order to quickly create meaningful products. Martin Zauner (Palfinger AG, Bergheim, Austria) then followed by reflecting on the role of making within established industries. Cultural changes (e.g., problem solving relying on digital sources) combined with the complexity of products such as cranes require intelligent, smart products in future. It is not about making the production smart, but about smart products. Finally, Silvia Lindtner (University of Michigan, US) talked about her experiences regarding making and hacking in China that she gathered during extensive fieldwork in Asia, especially in Shenzhen, where novel forms of innovation evolve that complement the mass production ecosystem it was known for for a long time.

The subsequent discussion was focusing, for instance, on regulations that influence production. Innovation processes may benefit from thinking without regulations in mind. Only as soon as an idea is becoming to be a product, regulations come into play. Regulations are needed, though they are different internationally, with different narratives attached to them (e.g., Asia versus Europe versus US). What is the European way of innovation? How can Chinese models inspire Europe’s way of innovation without copying them, without neglecting its traditions? Therefore, it is essential to understand different ways of production and innovation across borders, including awareness for precarious work situation and equality (e.g., ignoring the sometimes invisible role of women). The question on whether the current movements indicate an actual paradigm shift has been discussed controversially, since the outcome of a potential shift is still unclear. However, there was agreement that all areas of living will be affected by innovation and production changes, propelled forward by digital technologies and the potentially unlimited number of products and services that might be created in future.

Prior to the breakout session, Silvia Lindtner was interviewed by (in German):

“Was unterscheidet Making nun vom Basteln? 

Manche würden sagen – nichts. Es wird durchaus kontrovers diskutiert, wo man die Grenze zieht und warum nicht auch Häkeln, Kochen oder Fabrikarbeit darunter eingeordnet werden.

De facto sind es aber eher technologische Bastelprojekte, wie das Entwickeln einer Hardware für einen Roboter oder 3-D-Drucker, die von Unternehmen oder Regierungen explizit gefördert werden. Diese Definition hat sich nun eher durchgesetzt.”

Source: Shenzhen – das Mekka für Maker” –


Following two successful events on fabrication during 2015, this endeavour will continue in San Jose, USA, in May 2016, with a workshop at CHI 2016:

Fabrication & HCI: Hobbyist Making, Industrial Production, and Beyond

The workshop is organised by Verena, Martin and Manfred together with Silvia Lindtner (University of Michigan, USA), Shaowen and Jeff Bardzell (Indiana University, USA), Andreas Reiter (University of Nottingham, UK) and Pernille Bjørn (University of Copenhagen, Denmark).

Therein, we seek to advance the discussion around making and fabrication in HCI, ranging from notions of hobbyist making, industrial production, and fabrication in research. It is a continuation of two preceding events on the topic, i.e., a Workshop at Critical Alternatives 2015, and an expert summit on Rethinking Technology Innovation: Factories, Fabrication & Design Research at the Center for HCI in September 2015. The workshop aims to elaborate on the mutual implications between changing fabrication cultures and HCI research and practice. We particularly aim to discuss critical alternatives that move us beyond the binary between hobbyist and industrial fabrication, focusing on the intersections, transitions, and fusions of diverse perspectives.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together different perspectives to discuss their inherent fabrication cultures, motivations, challenges, and, especially, intersections. Finally, we envision contouring a landscape of fabrication, aiming to critically examine implications for HCI research: What research agendas are related to fabrication? Which challenges do we face when researching fabrication? What economic / democratic visions do we need to take into account? Where are the blind spots in the landscape of fabrication research? How does fabrication practice relate to research? What happens if we fabricate in research?

The call for participation, details about the workshop and the organizers can be found on the workshop website.

Do not miss the submission deadline (January 4) and join us in San José in April 2016!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015
11.00 – 13.00

Concluding our expert workshop on Rethinking Technology Innovation: Factories, Fabrication & Design Research, which took place on September 28th to 30th, 2015, we hosted a discussion with further experts in the area of fabrication in cooperation with the federation of Austrian Industries, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and ITG – Innovationsservice Salzburg.

The Future of Fabrication: Advances, Potentials & Challenges

Austrian stakeholders complemented and took up on the findings from the previous event to situate them within national and international requirements and opportunities.


Georg Bauer (Sony DADC Austria AG)
Terry Cheng (Terry & Friends, China)
Suzanne Thomas (Intel Labs, USA)
Michael Wiesmüller (Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology)
Martin Zehnder (Palfinger AG, Austria)

Moderation: Manfred Tscheligi


From August 17-21, 2015, Verena Fuchsberger and Martin Murer attended the decennial Aarhus conference “Critical Alternatives“. Together with Manfred Tscheligi, Silvia Lindtner, Andreas Reiter, Shaowen Bardzell, Jeffrey Bardzell, and Pernille Bjørn, they organized a one-day workshop on “The Future of Making: Where Industrial and Personal Fabrication Meet“. Therein, they discussed intersection of (hobbyist) making and (industrial) production, which reflects the research interest of the Fabrication Experience Lab at the Center for HCI.

Furthermore, Martin Murer presented a short paper that addresses “Deconstructivist Interaction Design: Interrogating Expression and Form” (co-authored by Verena Fuchsberger and Manfred Tscheligi). This critical assessment of several interactive artifacts expresses how a deconstructive perspective might contribute to the further development of the interaction design discipline.

The Center for HCI is looking forward to the next Critical Alternatives, taking place in 2025.

At this year’s Alpbach Technology Symposium, Manfred Tscheligi chaired a working group on “Human Enhancement Technologies: Amplifying or Reducing Inequality“, taking place on August 28th, 2015. Key thinkers from academia from various disciplines as well as experts from industry discussed how technology can (or cannot) enhance humans, how such technology needs to be designed, and what challenges individuals as well as society faces. The following experts participated in the working group’s panel:

  • Kristina Höök (Professor, School of Computer Science and Communication, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm)
  • Alexandra Millonig (Scientist, Dynamic Transportation Systems, Mobility Department, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH, Vienna)
  • Boris De Ruyter (Principal Scientist, Philips Research Eindhoven; Professor of Human Interaction with Intelligent Systems, Radboud University, Nijmegen)
  • Robert Hepbach (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Plack Institute for Revolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig)
  • Michael Friedrich Russold (Head, Department of Translational Research, Research and Development, Otto Bock Healthcare Products GmbH, Vienna)
  • Michael Wheeler (Professor of Philosophy, Division of Law and Philosophy, University of Sterling)

During the working group, the experts discussed the benefits and risks of human-enhancement technologies as well as the blurring boundaries between humans and technology. Are we becoming hybrid humans or cyborgs, or creating a hybrid society? What comes next?


Summary of the working group

The working group was opened by Manfred Tscheligi (chair of the Breakout Session), starting with asking the participants about enhancements they already have (e.g., glasses, smartphones, …). Then, he gives an overview of human enhancement technologies. Therein, he addresses technologies that enhance our mobility, augment our reality (e.g., interactive contact lenses), and even enter our bodies, for instance, in form of pacemakers, pills, or implants. The speakers of the working group then provided several notions of human enhancement technologies.

Boris de Ruyter (Philips Research Europe and Radboud University, Netherlands) illustrated how Philips’ lighting and personal healthcare systems contribute to increase people’s well-being, for instance in schools, hospitals, and at home. Robert Hepach (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany), focused on how social motivation emerges in young children, i.e., what would be there to enhance. Additionally, he showed the value of technology for observing and tracking humans to enhance the research on emotions and pro-social behavior. Alexandra Millonig (Austrian Institute of Technology) reflected upon challenges of technological innovations in mobility, such as whether automated vehicles will increase safety, efficiency, or accessibility, and how the future might look like on the road, extending humans’ possibilities to move. Focusing on how humans and technologies form (dynamic) coalitions, Michael Wheeler (University of Stirling, Scotland) proposes that technology becomes part of our ‘cognitive machinery’, what he refers to as the Extended Mind Hypothesis. However, he then poses the question whether we want our mind to be extended in form of a technology to be seamlessly integrated into our lives, or instead would prefer the option of being in dialog with the augmenting technology. Kristina Höök, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), accentuated a perspective on human enhancement technology that highlights the playful, aesthetic bodily experiences with technology, instead of a mere instrumental, efficiency-oriented perspective on technologies and bodies. Opposed to the dualism between mind and body, she argues for taking seriously the interplay of mind, body, and interactive technology. Michael Friedrich Russold from Otto Bock Healthcare Products GmbH, Vienna, gave an overview of the history of prosthesis, arriving at modern ideas of prosthesis. Then, he referred to human enhancement as imagined in fiction (e.g., the Six Million Dollar Man, 1974) and in reality (e.g., cyborgs). He concluded by drawing attention to ethical issues of human enhancement technologies, e.g., costs versus availability, responsibilities, etc.

In the subsequent discussions, the consequences of human enhancement technologies have been intensively discussed. For instance, foreseeing, and thus reacting to consequences is difficult, especially when it comes to effects that are not directly related to using the technology. Who is responsible for the developments at all, e.g., for autonomous cars? Who is responsible for the consequences? Is it the responsibility of policy makers to regulate the design, development, application, or usage? If yes, does it take too long until policy makers react? Is it the role of the developers and researchers? If yes, how does this feed back to policy? Furthermore, trends in technologies have been discussed, such as “Do-it-yourself” (e.g., facilitated by 3D printers, …) and what changes those might bring to the fabrication of human enhancement technologies. Do these trends have the potential to contribute to equality?

See also a great related interview (in German) with Kristina Höök by

“Technologien, bei der Menschen mit Maschinen interagieren, werden immer wichtiger. Die Gefahr dabei: Der Mensch selbst wird als Maschine betrachtet, die es zu verbessern gilt. Die schwedische IT-Expertin Kristina Höök verfolgt einen anderen Ansatz: Sie stellt Freude und Genuss des eigenen Körpers ins Zentrum der Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion.”

Source: “Technikdesign ist eine politische Arena” –


At CHI 2015, Alina Krischkowsky, Verena Fuchsberger, Martin Murer, and Alexander Meschtscherjakov presented work from the Center for Human-Computer Interaction. CHI 2015 took place in Seoul, Korea, from April 18th to 23rd, and attracted around 2700 attendees from all over the world.

Alexander gave a talk about “A Formal Analysis of the ISO 9241-210 Definition of User Experience” during the alt.chi session “Augmentation”. Within this talk, Alexander discussed potentials for an improvement of defining User Experience, a work that has been done by Alexander Mirnig, Alexander Meschtscherjakov, Daniela Wurhofer, Thomas Meneweger, and Manfred Tscheligi.

Furthermore, Alexander and Manfred Tscheligi co-organized a workshop on “Experiencing Autonomous Vehicles: Crossing the Boundaries between a Drive and a Ride” (together with Dalila Szostak from Intel, Rabindra Ratan from Michigan State University, Roderick McCall from University of Luxembourg, Ioannis Politis from University of Glasgow, and Sven Krome from RMIT University). Therein, they discussed user experience (UX) when driving in autonomous cars with industry experts and researchers, in order to draw the future landscape for research in terms of methodological issues, human factors, entertainment, social driving, and novel user interface approaches.

Alexander also presented a poster on “Sounds Like it Works: Music-based Navigation to Improve the Cleanroom Experience”, which was authored by Ilhan Aslan, Barbara Weixelbaumer, Bernhard Mauer, Daniela Wurhofer, Alexander Meschtscherjakov, and Manfred Tscheligi. This work-in-progress originated from the industry cooperation within the Christian-Doppler Laboratory on “Contextual Interfaces”, aiming to investigate how music could help workers in a factory navigate.

Alina, Verena, and Martin took part in several workshops. Alina participated in a workshop on “Designing for Sharing in Local Communities“, discussing her work on social roles and role expectations when it comes to older adults’ support practices. Verena presented how the context could act as a material physical data representation in a workshop called “Exploring the Challenges of Making Data Physical“; Martin took part in a workshop called “Knowledge Production in Interaction Design“, discussing how IxD styles could be an intermediary form of knowing.