Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) Berlin

With almost 14,000 students, the Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW) is Berlin’s largest university for applied sciences and uses the diversity of its more than 70 degree programs in the fields of technology, computer science, business, law, culture and design for networked collaboration. Teaching and research are core tasks for HTW Berlin and key factors for success. Every year, HTW Berlin’s teaching staff contribute their expertise and contacts to more than 150 thematically wide-ranging third-party funded projects, which are usually carried out in cooperation with partners from industry. The competencies of HTW Berlin are particularly pronounced in the areas of “digitalization” and “creative industries”.

Industrial Design at the HTW

The Bachelor’s degree program in Industrial Design at HTW Berlin addresses the entire design process of modern industrial products and systems – from the initial idea to the technical implementation and the return to the material cycle. The two focal points Universal Design and Sustainability interlock throughout the Industrial Design course of study in the Department of Design and Culture.

An excellent basic study program with design, theoretical and technical fundamentals creates the prerequisite for complex topics in project studies, which are often carried out in cooperation with partners from business, society, politics and other research institutions. The practice-oriented study content and research cooperations on current ecological, social and technological topics create the experimental framework for students’ own questions in their final theses.

The MA program in System Design extends the bachelor’s program in Industrial Design and focuses on the design of systems, system contexts, processes and services. The goal is to enable students to recognize the dynamic development of complex problems in an intercultural context and to develop strategic solutions, as well as to enable them to assess consequences.

School Profile Projects

Lena Jacobi / Letzter Abschied

In disaster scenarios, the primary concern is saving lives. One issue that does not receive much attention in the planning and execution of relief operations is how to deal with the deceased. Dignity and reverence have a low priority in these challenging scenarios. Mourning and the needs of the bereaved rarely receive attention. Instead of ceremonies, there is disposal. The body bags used are the equivalent of oversized garbage bags.

This not only leads to unnecessary conflicts between helpers and the affected population, but the lack of a final goodbye massively disturbs, cross-culturally, the mourning process of relatives. This paper addresses the entire process of burial even under the most adverse conditions in a disaster such as an epidemic of highly infectious diseases, taking into account cultural, social, hygienic and environmental considerations.

A comprehensive concept for a reverent farewell in the event of a disaster has emerged.

Supervision: Prof. Sebastian Feucht

Lucas Balcilar / Prothese 2.0

The Prosthesis 2.0 is the design of an intelligent prosthesis concept. It explores the possibilities of implementing intelligent technologies and current research results in a forearm prosthesis. The focus is on identification with the prosthesis and its intuitive use.

Electric prostheses are controlled by muscle signals. As a rule, users can thus give three different signals to the prosthesis. One problem with this constellation is the selection of the required grip type. Conventional prostheses can perform between 14 and 36 different grip types. Due to the limited number of muscle signals, the user has to switch back and forth between many different grips until the desired grip is selected.

To make control more intuitive, the prosthesis 2.0 uses automated grip selection. A camera in the wrist analyzes the shape of the object the user wants to reach for. Using machine vision, the prosthesis calculates which grip fits the shape of the object and selects it. The user only has to give the signal to reach for the object, and is spared the time-consuming task of selecting the handle.

Furthermore, most current prosthesis models do not provide sensory feedback. As a result, many users experience their prosthesis as a foreign body and cannot identify with it. The Prosthesis 2.0 therefore uses different types of sensory feedback. Through certain vibration patterns on the residual limb muscles, haptic illusions are caused. These are based on recent research by Dr. Paul Merasco at the Cleavland Clinic. The illusions deceive the user’s body sensation and cause them to feel the movements of the prosthesis.

Supervision: Prof. Pelin Celik

Maria Soravito de Franceschi / Noah

Noah is a user-oriented therapeutic aid in the form of an innovative gadget. This helps the user to achieve a relaxed state before going to bed and ensures a better quality of sleep in the long term. Noah is intended to help people with stress-related sleep disorders in particular, but also appeals to all those who have problems “switching off” in the evening and are unable to fall asleep as a result.

The result is a therapeutic set. This consists of a handy smart companion that has biofeedback sensors that measure the user’s own state of mind. The user is also guided acoustically through various relaxation exercises and rituals. The set also includes a lamp that visualizes the measured biofeedback values and a tray that serves as a wireless charging station for the smart companion and the lamp.

Supervision: Prof. Pelin Celik 

Patrick Dippe / Auxetic Runner

The Auxetic Runner concept, through its structure, aims to reduce injuries during running. In this regard, the shoe contains various elements that provide direct protection of the ankle and also facilitate professional use.

If a situation arises in which a runner is in danger of twisting, the first step is to cushion this unnatural movement by beveling the sole. This bevel is placed in the front area of the outer side of the shoe, since the foot largely buckles at this point. Due to the resulting inversion movement, the anterior outer ligament is subjected to a particularly high load. This can be reduced to some extent by cushioning the movement.

But because this is not enough to provide extensive protection for the ankle, the shoe includes other special features. An integrated bandage system surrounds the areas of the foot that need special protection. During the twisting process, the foot exerts pressure on the outside of the bandage. This pressure creates a pulling effect on the inside, which in turn ensures that the shell of the shoe is compressed and the ankle joint is stabilized. The third element represents an auxetic textile placed in the area of the anterior and medial external ligaments. If the ankle presses against the outer wall at this point, the textile hardens. The greater the pressure, the greater the hardening. As the pressure decreases, the auxetic textile returns to its original state.

Another element of the design is the communication of the wear condition of the shoe. The gel pads of the sole contain a large number of small colored balls, which gradually burst open as the cushioning decreases, thus discoloring the gel pad. This alerts the runner to the deteriorating cushioning and the running shoe can be changed in a timely manner.

Supervision: Prof. Jan Vietze

Tony Jankowski / DUOTEC

An abstract space is defined by a form-giving, stable structure that is enveloped by a surface. The production of material-efficient building structures requires a system of two computer-based collaborating actors. One of the actors builds individual modules of the structure. These are assembled on site and closed by the second actor.

DUOTEC is a system of two cooperating mobile robots. Together they realize extremely light but stable architectural structures based on natural models.

Supervision: Prof. Birgit Weller