STARTS Prize 2016

THU September 8-MON September 12, 2016, 10 AM-7:30 PM

Appointed by the European Commission, Ars Electronica has launched a prize to select the most pioneering collaborations and results in the field of creativity and innovation at the nexus of science and technology with the arts. Ars Electronica 2016 presents a selection of the prizewinning and nominated works of STARTS Prize 2016.

This project is presented in the framework of the European Digital Art and Science Network and co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

Artifical Skins and Bones

Nature’s patterns, structures, and functions are an endless source of inspiration. We started off the project by examining our body’s design that may be applied to artificial bodies. Through workshops and interviews with experts from Ottobock, we expand our agenda: the language of sensation, interaction, and the aesthetics of artificial bodies. The outcome illustrates our design exploration and possible future of technology and body.

Magnetic Motion

Iris van Herpen explores the interplay of magnetic forces. By thoroughly examining the representation of dynamic forces of attraction and repulsion, the designer fuses nature and technology. Van Herpen worked with techniques like injection molding and laser cutting on maze like structures, 3D printing and intricate architectural handwork on dresses, jackets, trousers, skirts, and blouses, giving them dynamic shapes and surfaces that echo the body’s movement.

Kinematics Dress

Kinematics Dress represents a new approach to manufacturing that tightly integrates design, simulation, and digital fabrication to create complex, customized products. Composed of thousands of unique interlocking components, each dress is 3D printed as a single folded piece and requires no assembly.

Hy-Fi The Living Alchemists Exhibition Festival 2016

Hy-Fi: Reinventing the brick for a low-carbon, compostable structure

The Living
Hy-Fi offers a captivating physical environment and a new paradigm for sustainable architecture. In this project we tested and refined a new low-energy building material, manufactured 10,000 compostable bricks, constructed a 13-meter-high tower, hosted public cultural events for three months, dismantled the structure, composted the bricks, and returned the resulting soil to local community gardens.

Time Displacement / Chemobrionic Garden

Time Displacement—Chemobrionic Garden explores a relationship between hydrothermal chemistry, the passage of time, and evolution of sound. The project consists of several small chemical garden formations in a water glass (sodium metasilicate) solution to provide an insight into research on chemical processes and the origin of life. The chemical reactions are monitored by cameras to detect changes in color and shape by means of microcontrollers. The changes affect the code for live sound generation, and slowly alter the generative drone composition pervading the gallery space.

Project Nimbus

In 2015 Project Nimbus achieved the inaugural projection of moving images onto clouds from aircraft. The image (Horse in Motion – Muybridge 1878) is a shared cultural reference between art & science. Beyond the spectacle, genuine collaboration was underpinned by art as research, involving aviators, technologists, and cultural specialists, driven by the power of idea and joy of risk, giving freedom from commercialization. Inspired by a proposed US military non-lethal weapon, the Laser Zoopraxiscope Mk6 is an open source cloud projector, combining historical and innovative projection technologies.

Instruments of the Afterlife

Instruments are created to transform contamination into valuable materials, by employing plants and engineered bacteria. Instead of mining material from geological sources and using fossil fuels that lead to environmental harm, could future generations use the contamination and pollution we leave behind to build their future world? Can they build balanced relationships with the natural world to be a no-waste civilization? A series of new instruments use synthetic biology, plant science, and nanotechnology. Whilst cleaning the land, they remember the mistakes of the past and create materials to build a post-waste future.


The Institute for Experimental Architecture/Hochbau is part of the Faculty of Architecture at Innsbruck University and headed by Prof. Marjan Colletti. Since the establishment of the Robotic Experimentation Laboratory—REX|LAB in 2012, robotic fabrication methodologies have been a pivotal research trajectory for the institute.

Hortum machina, B

Although plants lack nervous systems, they can, much like animals, become electro-chemically stimulated by their surrounding environment. Measuring this, we begin to understand the stimulus-response mechanisms that make up their primitive intelligence. Networked together we’ve harnessed their collective intelligence, exploring new forms of bio-cooperative interaction. The result is half garden, half autonomous vehicle a cybernetic lifeform we’ve named Hortum machina, B.


HACKberry is an open-source 3D-printable bionic arm (i.e. motorized hand that a person missing a hand can control intuitively via muscle signals in their residual arm). All the technical data including 3D CAD file, software code, circuit diagram, and bill of materials are disclosed as open-source under Creative Commons license. In this way, private developers around the world can replicate and customize it for whoever it can help in their local area.

Projects on the Materialization of Holography

We present a method of rendering aerial and volumetric graphics using femtosecond lasers. A high-intensity laser excites physical matter to emit light at an arbitrary 3D position. Popular applications can then be explored especially since plasma induced by a femtosecond laser is safer than that generated by a nanosecond laser.


Floraform is a generative design system inspired by the biomechanics of growing leaves and blooming flowers which explores the development of surfaces through differential growth. We created a simulation of a differentially growing elastic surface that functions as a digital garden. Within the system, we can explore how biological systems create form by varying growth rates through space and time. Many of these experiments have been materialized as 3D-printed sculptures and wearable adornments.

Aurelia 1 + Hz/proto viva sonification

Aurelia 1 + Hz / Proto viva Sonification is an interactive performance that explores the phenomena of interspecies communication, sonification of the environment, and underwater acoustic/bioacoustics, using jellyfish. Jellyfish are one of the rare organisms that seem perfectly suited for the Anthropocene era. The current 6th Mass Extinction may not apply to them, in fact, their numbers are growing. It is not established (yet) how they communicate. Do they feel vibration? Aurelia aurita’s gravity receptors (calcium crystals) are the same as in the human inner ear.

Environment Dress

Environment Dress 2.0 is a smart dress that measures the aggressiveness of the environment to analyze how it affects people’s mood and behavior.
It is a wearable equipped with sensors that analyze issues such as variations in noise, temperature, atmospheric pressure, ultraviolet radiation, or the amount of carbon monoxide present in our daily lives. All of this geo-located information is connected to the user’s mood via an app.

Casa Jasmina

Casa Jasmina is a two-year pilot project in the field of domestic electronic networking, or “the Internet of Things in the Home.” The aim is to integrate traditional Italian skills in furniture and interior design with emergent skills in open-source electronics. The project is a showplace inside a large industrial building already shared by Toolbox Co-Working, Fablab Torino, and Officine Arduino.


Apostroph is a prototype of a robot designed to study the intrinsic behaviors of living organisms. Standing up and counteracting gravity is characteristic of living organisms.

Water-based Digital Fabrication Platform

Inspired by aqueous material formation the Water-based Digital Fabrication Platform offers a new perspective on water-based manufacturing, combining an age-old crustacean-derived material with robotic fabrication and synthetic biology to form constructs that utilize graded material properties for hydration-guided self-assembly. The platform and its products demonstrate the Material Ecology approach to shape and property formation by design. It is a realization of the ancient biblical verse: from Earth to Earth, from water to water.

SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters

Verity Studios, ETH Zurich, and Cirque du Soleil have partnered to develop a short film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance. The collaboration resulted in a unique, interactive choreography where humans and drones move in sync. Precise computer control allows for a large performance and movement vocabulary of the quadcopters and opens the door to many more applications in the future.

Bionic Partition: Generative Design for Aerospace

The Bionic Partition is the world’s largest metal 3D printed airplane component. This component – created through a pioneering combination of generative design, 3D printing, and advanced material – is almost 50 percent lighter than current designs, and it is also stronger. This weight savings translates to fuel savings and carbon reduction.

We Make Money Not Art

We Make Money Not Art is a blog that focuses on the intersection between art, science, and social issues. Created in March 2004, investigates the work of artists, designers, and hackers who are using science and technology in a critical, socially engaged way.

Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab

The Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab empowers a vivid community of committed citizens to use inexpensive, open source technology to understand their environments (the air they breathe, the noise they hear, the water they drink & swim in, and the soil they grow on) better and to take action based on their findings.