step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019

experience, interact and enrich your life with robots at sony’s ‘affinity in autonomy’ exhibition during milan design week 2019. with an evolving spectrum of moving colors and sounds, visitors can explore the immersive installation through five distinctive spaces. each scenario – from an initial awakening through to a friendly association – offers different interactions that aim to build and strengthen an emotional connection between humans and robotics.


at the immersive installation, which is open throughout milan design week 2019 from april 9 to 14, designboom interviewed yutaka hasegawa, vice president, VP, head of creative center, sony, and daisuke ishii, chief art director of sony and the creator of ‘affinity in autonomy’ installation. after experiencing the sense ourselves, we discussed…

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
interaction <02> autonomous
(main image: interaction <01> awakening)
all images courtesy of sony



designboom (DB): can you introduce the ideas behind the ‘affinity in autonomy’ project?


yutaka hasegawa (YH): the range of sony design work varies from designing products to services and through to design R&D. ‘affinity in autonomy’ is one of these projects that explores the relationship between humans and robotics. robotics will support humans with our creativity and motivation, but we were curious as to how to better integrate their knowledge into enriching the lives of humans.



DB: what is the ‘perceptual experience project’ and how does it connect to this exhibition?


YH: ‘perceptual experience project’ is an ongoing theme for sony’s exhibitions at milan design week. it is a challenge for sony design to translate innovation into experience, visualizing an entertaining and enriched lifestyle for a new tomorrow. with an emphasis on providing such experiences, we portray emotion, sensitivity and convenience by revealing conceptual prototypes. through audience engagement, encouragement and feedback, sony design maintains the quest for a more ‘heartfelt future’. 2018’s ‘hidden senses’ installation uses technology to subtly support in your daily lives – interacting with familiar objects in contextual spaces. for this year, the theme is AI and robotics. through each interaction, you can experience ‘affinity in autonomy’ and a new relation with robotics.


daisuke ishii (DI): you can experience ‘affinity in autonomy’ and a new relationship with robotics in five spaces that gradually increases the level of affinity.

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
interaction <03> accordance



DB: why is the exhibition composed of five interactions and what different scenarios do they depict?


DI: five spaces were ideal for sharing the story we wished to tell. it all starts with an ‘awakening’ of AI. each interaction is a distinct step of a journey of how AI works. 2D interactions transform into 3D objects before finally taking shape and creating affiliation.



DB: how is an emotional connection created between the visitor and the robotics?


DI: as the interactions build, that is how the emotional relationship is created and then strengthened between humans and robotics. they get more physical and intellectual – as shown with aibo – until visitors can then understand how the robotics are feeling about your engagement to it.

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
interaction <04> affiliation



DB: what considerations for the designs of the spaces influenced the exhibition’s experience?


DI: the curation of the project focused on more than just the robotic technology on show. the interaction was extremely important, however, and they gradually evolve. the more the interaction becomes intelligent, the more the spaces become vivid and multi-colored.



DB: how does sony foresee robotics creating an enriched life?


YH: AI technology can be used beneficially in many markets, not just for the next generation of users. one such case is its ability to offer emotional support devices for care homes of senior people. the audience may not fully understand the technologies but the products feel relatable like companions, which is the most important consideration for sony.

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
interaction <05> association



DB: why are visitors offered the chance to answer questions in the final, association interaction?


YH: we believe robotics will play an integral role in our lives, society and infrastructure in the coming years, and through this interaction, enable visitors to take a step into the future. it will give us a good sense of people’s reactions and engagements with robotics. their specific positiveness and negativeness could then stem into our developments and products.



DB: how do you imagine visitors will react to this exhibition?


DI: japan has a cultural perception of robotics being useful, even heroic. we understand that there are perceptions in the world where robotics is viewed as a threat. however, the inevitable near-future of coexistence with robotics is now a topic for social discussion. we want to direct the attention to the potential of robotics. we hope visitors will leave with emotional connections and affinity towards robotics.

step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
yutaka hasegawa, vice president, VP, head of creative center, sony


step into the future of robotics with sony at milan design week 2019
daisuke ishii, chief art director of sony and the creator of ‘affinity in autonomy’ installation



exhibition info:


name: affinity in autonomy

brand: sony

address: spazio zegna, via savona, 56/A, milan

dates: 9 – 14 april, 2019

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