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Handshake: A way to connect with humans around the world

We asked for submissions from the community for projects that fill the void of what we’ll be missing most this year during San Francisco Design Week: Human connection.

Swissnex SF answered the call by sharing with us their project: HANDSHAKE

Shake hands with us and share some digital intimacy through this unique online experience.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated, the potential role of robotics has been highlighted in situations where humans cannot necessarily be near one another. Robots are gaining importance in creating new forms of interaction in times of physical distancing and managing this public health crisis. They bear the potential to be deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, and measuring vital signs. They can also help us overcome the perhaps biggest challenge of living in isolation and across physical barriers such as distance: missing the human touch?

TRY IT HERE: Shake Hands With Us Now

Handshake is an interactive robotic installation by the collaborative design practice AATB that addresses this from an artistic perspective. In times of physical distancing, when touching becomes impossible, Handshake is a platform where strangers can interact with each other, virtually but also physically.


Handshake: An Interactive Robotic Installation by AATB

The physical installation consists of two robotic arms, each equipped with an over-sized hand. They are facing each other and moving together, following the directions of two people from afar. This virtual platform enables visitors to take control of the robots. The chance to control a large and complex robot with ease, no manual needed here! An interaction as simple as reaching out and shaking your own hand but with a friend across the globe.

Visitors are matched in pairs as they join the site, each remotely controlling one robotic arm in their browser in real-time via mouse and touch input. They then interact with one another aiming to shake hands, to touch.

After a certain amount of time, (depending on the amount of visitors in line) the scene is reset, and the next two visitors in the line take over control of the robots. All visitors to the website can observe this interaction between the two robots happening in real time over a live feed, as they wait on line or just view the site. Nothing happening? Visit the site again, when others are there to greet you.

Handshake: An Interactive Robotic Installation, was initiated by swissnex Boston and AATB, in close collaboration with the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, and swissnex San Francisco. This project and its global reach were made possible by the generous support of the global swissnex network, Présence Suisse, and Pro Helvetia.

The project builds on AATB’s strong expertise in robotics systems, web development and interactive installations.
TRY IT HERE: Shake Hands With Us Now


Concept, Design & Development: AATB (Andrea Anner & Thibault Brevet)
Prop Design: Eva Jauss
Production manager: Nicolas Moreau
Production assistants: Studiolow (Héloïse Charital & Ismaël Rifaï)
Communication Design: (Emmanuel Crivelli)

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