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Marc Böhlen

Marc Böhlen
Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies , University at Buffalo / Ailab Zurich


Marc Böhlen is an artist-engineer, a maker of systems, situations and devices that critically reflect on the role of automation in the 21st century – in the widest sense possible. He is currently associate professor in the department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo and Visiting Artist at the AILAB of the University of Zürich.
Böhlen’s research is tightly coupled to robotics design in methodology and succinctly different from it in scope and critical focus. It is an ongoing effort to diversify machine culture. Signal processing, artificial intelligence and control systems are cultural artifacts inscribed by those who create and use them in similar ways as more traditional media are acknowledged to be.

Recent research is centered on forms of mixed knowing, the combination of ways of knowing from different ontological and perceptual frameworks. The Glass Bottom Float project presented at ETech2009 attempts to combine human and machine knowing to formulate knowledge of water conditions at a public beach neither people nor machines alone can understand.
Recent work has been presented at Cynetart (Dresden 2008), Dorkbot (Toronto 2008), and Satellite Voyeurism (Dortmund 2007). Recent and upcoming publications include Robots with Bad Accents; Living with Synthetic Speech (MIT Press 2008), Second Order Ambient Intelligence (JAISE 2009), Ambient Intelligence in the City (Springer 2009), and Micro Public Places (Architectural League New York 2009).
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Location: Gold Room Level: Intermediate
Marc Böhlen (University at Buffalo / Ailab Zurich)
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A beach robot measures established and experimental water quality parameters and offers itself as a resting spot in the water. Life guards interview swimmers and send the results to the floating robot where the human input and the machine data are merged to a joint, the swimming pleasure measure, an extended water quality metric neither humans nor machines can generate alone. Read more.
  • Sun Microsystems
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  • Orange Labs