The HumanTech Institute is led by Elena Mugellini, Professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, HES-SO (www.hes-so.ch). The Institute was created in January 2013 and is based on the “success story” of the previous MISG group. The HumanTech Institute aims at perpetuating activities conducted in the framework of the former group and launching the evolution towards a multidisciplinary research center, which will place human beings at the heart of technology. About 30 persons (professors, researchers, PhD students and engineers) currently work for the Institute.
Vision of the Institute and its research axes
Vision: Improvement of the quality of life and well-being of human beings thanks to the ingenious use of new technologies, in order to strengthen their abilities as individuals, as well as members of an increasingly dynamic, nomadic and globalized society.
The emergence of a knowledge society, based on the omnipresent influence of information and communication technologies (ICT), causes a fundamental change in our society and economy. The Institute promotes the development of innovative solutions for the implementation of an intelligent society concept, the so-called “Smart Society”, which represents a co-evolution of technologies and society (see Figure 1). The stakes of co-evolution are strategic not only for our country, but equally on the European, or even on the global scale:
Ageing of the population and higher life expectancy;
Mental, social and physical well-being of the population;
Environment protection and its surveillance from the point of view of durability;
Innovative, participative, safe and solidary societies, which are respectful of citizens and economy;
Universal and reliable services with transparent access, which is open to resources and global data.
Figure 1 - "Technology for Human Well-being" Institute
The vision aims at promoting a society, which instead of sustaining the technological determinism, interacts with new technologies and uses them to empower individuals by helping them to express their creativity and resolve future challenges.
This can be articulated by means of a series of primordial questions around which future research and development of the Institute will be oriented:
To what extent can a technology model the society?
To what extent can the society shape a technology?
How will technologies influence our life?
How can the ingenious use of technology make our lives less stressful and easier across different sectors of the society (business, trade, health, entertainment, mobility, education, art, etc.)?
How will a technology be adapted in order to be used in a personalized and transparent way by every individual?
How to improve products’ conception in order to make them more ergonomic, sustainable and respectful of our environment?
How to improve the conception of services to make them more efficient, transparent and respectful of our private life?
Mission: The “Technology for Human Well-being” Institute has for its mission to carry out research and development activities in specific and transversal sectors, at the intersection of technological, economical and human sciences. Research axes related to human sciences are investigated in collaboration with our national and international partners.