An insight into the workplace of tomorrow

08.03.2017 | News

By:  Meryem Riahi

Could we soon be working alongside robots? Treffpunkt Science City will focus on this and other questions at the Experience Sundays dedicated to "Working in the World 4.0".

Kinder hören einer Vorlesung zu.  
In addition to lectures the Treffpunkt will also feature experiments, workshops and demonstrations. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Ulrike von Groll)

The latest edition of the ETH Zurich event series will run between 12 March and 2 April 2017, and once again offers a varied programme for visitors. From lectures on experiments to panel discussions – at the Hönggerberg campus, children, teenagers and adults can quench their thirst for knowledge, get involved and talk with researchers and industry experts.

Working in 4.0 – what will change?

On 12 March, Gisela Hürlimann, ETH lecturer on the history of technology, will deliver the first lecture and offer a useful overview of the topic. She will explain why we are now in the fourth industrial revolution, what the previous three revolutions were and what influence they had on people and their work.

Occupational and organisational psychologist Theo Wehner asserts that, today, we require only half the workforce to achieve the same productivity as 30 years ago. If this is true, what will happen to free time and to people that can no longer find work? The ETH Professor Emeritus will discuss these questions and the workplace of tomorrow in his lecture on 2 April.

3D printing as a new work tool

3D printing is already used in several professional fields and its broad range of potential applications afford it an important place in science and industry. Several events at Treffpunkt Science City will also be dedicated to this innovative printing method.

Children at an installation.  
Children are brought closer to science through demos and installations. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Ulrike von Groll)

On 19 March, for example, ETH doctoral students will give a demonstration of materials that adapt to their environment Sound a bit far-fetched? It is in fact possible with a special foam that is used as "ink" for the 3D printer.

And while the 3D-printed artificial ear can't change its shape, it can be printed in just 20 minutes. The new process offers hope, as damaged ear cartilage cannot heal itself. On 2 April, Professor Marcy Zenobi-Wong will explain more about the new method in her lecture.

FabLab will also be helping visitors create a special, one-of-a-kind self-portrait – their very own bust from the 3D printer! Simply come along to the Experience Sunday on 2 April, let the printer scan you and the masterpiece will be created right there and then. Now you just have to find the perfect place to display it at home!

Architecture 4.0 and the new global language

Children at a lecture  
Visitors are also actively involved in the lectures. (Photograph: ETH Zurich / Ulrike von Groll)

On 12 March, children will have the chance to visit the Arch_Tec_Lab, the largest robotic construction laboratory in the world. Experiments will be carried out to show you how robots can help build houses in future and, on the same day, children and teenagers will also have the chance control a robot in the Arch_Tec_Lab.

Computer scientists must first program robots so that they know what we want them to do. And it's not just robots – cars, traffic lights and houses are also programmed. In his lecture on 12 March, Juraj Hromkovic, Professor of Computer Science at ETH, will explain exactly what "programming" means, why it's the new global language, and what advantages it offers when you master it.

Treffpunkt Science City

Treffpunkt Science City is a free science programme that’s accessible to people of all ages. Family Sundays feature lectures, panel discussions, demonstrations and experiments for people of all ages, and will take place on the ETH Hönggerberg campus on 12 March, 19 March and 2 April, from 11 am to 4 pm. The theme for the panel discussion on 30 March will be "Will Switzerland become unemployed?" And the visit on 16 March will feature a tour of the Nest building, a pilot project for sustainable construction. More information can be found in the detailed programme: Working in the World 4.0.

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30.03.2017
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