A Window into Digitalization in Ostwestfalen-Lippe

CITEC supporting the “Designing Our Tomorrow” campaign

An intelligent workbench, a virtual gym, and a socially competent apartment: in a new campaign featuring these innovations, Bielefeld University is presenting how digitalization can help make everyday life life easier in the future. The initiative is being run under the motto “Wir gestalten unser Morgen” (“Designing Our Tomorrow”). The campaign is now live and depicts the opportunities presented by digitalization using examples from the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe. These solutions can be seen in 15 “windows into tomorrow” exhibitions – both online and on location at the various companies, universities, and other institutions.

Using the example of the virtual gym ICSpace, the Cluster of Excellence CITEC is showing how digitalization can be used to help make life easier in the future. Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld University

The terms digitalization and digital transformation highlight the fact that companies, administrations, and other organizations are increasing using and networking with artificial intelligent technologies in order to organize both their professional and private lives. Technical systems, for instance, can be used to optimize services and design more efficient production flows and lines of communication.

As an example of the kinds of “thinking” technology of tomorrow, Bielefeld University’s Cluster of Excellence CITEC is presenting the smart training and coaching system ICSpace. As a virtual gym, the system allows motor activities and physical exercises to be practiced and improved. A virtual coach gives the system a friendly face and supports the user’s training by providing individualized feedback in real time.

As part of this campaign, CITEC is also presenting the service robots in the institute’s smart apartment, where researchers are investigating how technical systems can assist human users by helping them recognize and solve tasks on their own. Thanks to specific programming, the service robots can react flexibly and creatively, and can adapt to new environments at any time.

Also on display is the intelligent workbench PROMIMO, which is developed at the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) at Bielefeld University. The assistive system displays assembly processes step by step: it recognizes individual parts of the assembly and projects instructions with images and videos directly on to the workspace of the workbench. The system can also point out critical steps in the assembly process, helping the user to avoid making mistakes.  

In addition to Bielefeld University, a number of other organizations are also exhibiting “windows into tomorrow,” including
the Berufskolleg Kreis Höxter (Vocational College – Höxter District)  in Brakel, CENTRUM INDUSTRIAL IT with the Fraunhofer-Application Center IOSB-INA, CLAAS KGaA mbH in Harsewinkel, the Deutsche Angestellten-Akademie (German Employee Academy) in Bad Oeynhausen, the Fachhochschule Bielefeld (University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld), the Fraunhofer-Institut für Entwurfstechnik Mechatronik (Fraunhofer-Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design) in Paderborn, the Handwerkskammer Ostwestfalen-Lippe (Ostwestfalen-Lippe Chamber of Trade) in Bielefeld, the Hettich Group, the Institut für industrielle Informationstechnik der Hochschule OWL (Institute for Industrial Information Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe) in Lemgo, the Kreis Lippe (Lippe District) in Dörentrup, topocare GmbH in Höxter, Phoenix Contact E-Systems KGaA mbH & Co. KG in Bad Pyrmont, the Richard-von-Weizsäcker-Berufskolleg (Richard-von Weizsäcker Vocational College) in Paderborn, and the Weidmüller Group in Detmold.

The activities and approaches to solutions offered by digitalization are also being displayed online at www.owl-morgen.de, where there are many resources for companies and interested visitors, such as advice, quick checks, and tips.

Participating in this informative campaign are also the Branchennetzwerke Food-Processing Initiative e.V. (Industry Networks Food Processing Initiative e.V.), Energie Impuls OWL e.V., the Zentrum für Innovation in der Gesundheitswirtschaft OWL gGmbH (Center for Innovation in Health Care OWL GmbH), OWL Maschinenbau e.V. (OWL Mechanical Engineering e.V.), and InnoZent OWL e.V., as well as the local districts Lippe und Höxter, the SEH Stadt-entwicklungsgesellschaft Hansestadt Herford (SEH City Development Society of Hansestadt Herford), and the city of Gütersloh.

The campaign is part of the “OWL 4.0.” action plan. OstWestfalenLippe GmbH developed this concept together with 150 partners. The program Regio.NRW has provided €6.6 million in funding to implement the concept with ten digitalization projects. With Regio.NRW, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is seeking to strengthen competitiveness and innovativeness in the region. The projects will run through the end of 2018. 

More information is available online at:
Campaign website: http://owl-morgen.de/schaufenster
Press release from OstWestfalenLippe GmbH [in German]: http://bit.ly/2pqIOFe