Alexander Grots, Event Moderator

Alexander Grots is an independent innovation consultant and specialist in the "design thinking" innovation methodology. He started to work with and teach the method in 2001, when he joined the internationally acclaimed innovation firm IDEO, where Alexander became managing director of their German unit and associate Partner of IDEO Inc, Palo Alto, California. After more than 6 years at IDEO Alexander started his own innovation consultancy: gravity-europe. While at IDEO and with gravity, Alexander has been working on a wide range of innovation projects for clients in the financial, communication, industrial and consumer products industries. He also set up the HPI School of Design Thinking in Berlin, Germany, as well as other design thinking programs at several universities.

Sensory-Motor Systems Robotics Lab


Exosuits are active, garment-like exoskeletons that can restore or assist mobility and promote independence in physically impaired individuals. We developed a first prototype of such a soft, robotic device, named Myosuit. The robot primarily consists of functional textiles and lacks rigid structures as they are used in conventional, lower-limb exoskeletons. It is soft, flexible and lightweight, and thus, does not restrict or interfere with the wearer.


We assess human performance and motor learning in real-life tasks and apply statistical learning methods to enhance training. We have developed a tendon-based parallel robot to render haptics in our CAVE or to provide haptic guidance. The robot configuration can be adapted to different tasks by changing the position of the deflection units, adapting the motorized winches, and changing the number of actuators. Highly dynamic movements such as tennis as well as power-intense applications like rowing have been elaborated so far.


With the Somnomat project we aim to gain a deeper scientific knowledge about the impact of vestibular stimuli on onset of sleep and sleep quality. Our findings may build the base for developing new treatment methods to improve sleep quality and may offer new non-pharmacological therapeutic approaches to improve sleep disturbances in the elderly population.


The CYBATHLON is a unique championship for people with disabilities or physical weakness using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies.

Dr. Manu Kapur, Productive Failure

Professor and Chair of Learning Sciences and Higher Education at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. Manu conceptualized the notion of productive failure and has used it to explore the hidden efficacies in the seemingly failed efforts of small groups solving complex problems collaboratively in an online environment. Manu has done extensive work in real-field ecologies of mathematics classrooms to extend his work on productive failure across a range of schools in Singapore.

Professor Detlef Günther, Entrepreneurship at ETH

Detlef Günther was appointed as Assistant Professor at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of ETH Zurich in 1998 and became associate Professor in July 2003. Since February 2008 he is full Professor for Trace Element and Micro Analysis and since January 2015 Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations of ETH Zurich.

Dr. Emilio Frazzoli, CTO & Chief Scientist at nuTonomy
Building Software to Power Tomorrow's Driverless Fleets
Emilio is the pioneering inventor of the RRT* motion planning algorithm and a world-renowned expert in robotics, fleet management, and autonomous systems and directed the research group that put the first autonomous vehicles on the road in Singapore.

nuTonomy provides software for driverless fleets. Their mission is to radically improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of transportation in cities worldwide. They envision a future where fleets of nuTonomy-powered driverless vehicles are available where you need them, when you need them.

Martin Ebner, CEO and Co-founder of Battrion
Martin received the ETH Pioneer Fellowship and developed methods to control electrode microstructure to not only increase cell-level energy density and charging rates but also drive down manufacturing costs. This work lead to the founding of the ETH Spin-off Battrion AG.

Battrion develops and markets innovative fabrication technologies for lithium ion batteries aimed at increasing the charging speed of high energy density cells.

Olga Motovilova, COO and co-founder of Noone

noonee AG is the world’s first supplier of Wearable Ergonomic Mechatronic Devices (WEMDs). These are simple devices focused on improving ergonomics in the manufacturing industry, similar to exoskeletons but practical.

Marcos Moneiro, CEO and Co-founder of Veezoo

Veezoo is a virtual assistant that understands the data of your company. Before Veezoo, only those gifted with technical skills could interface with company data effectively. Others were either completely dependent on these technical demigods or they were simply left to make decisions based on guesses rather than data. Veezoo lets you stop guessing and gets you hard facts. Everyone from the intern to the CEO can now make better decisions, faster.

Mirko Meboldt, Additive Manufacturing

Mirko launched his academic career at the Institute of Product Engineering Karlsruhe (IPEK), where he completed a doctorate in the field of product development. He embarked on his industrial career at Hilti AG in Liechtenstein, where he was globally responsible for CAD/PDM systems, standardisation and development methods. In 2012 he was appointed as a full professor of product development and engineering design at ETH Zurich. His main research focuses on the development of new products in the field of mechanical engineering industries, biomedical applications and associated technologies.

Torbjörn Netland, Future Supply Chains & Impact on Factory Operations

Dr. Torbjørn Netland is a Tenure Track Assistant Professor and the Head of Chair of Production and Operations Management at the Department of Management, Technology, and Economics, ETH Zurich. He is a specialist in lean production systems (XPS), a scholar in operations management and international business. His research on “Managing Corporate Lean Programs” has been performed in close cooperation with global companies. His research appears in several peer reviewed journals. He is a Fellow  of the World Economic Forum’s Initiative on the Future of Production  and an elected Board Member of the European Operations Management Association.

Johannes Heck, Process Improvements

For almost a decade, Johannes Heck has been passionate about improving the performance of organisations. He studied business engineering at University of Karlsruhe (KIT) and co-founded the student society LEAN to learn more about problem-solving and iterative process improvements. While studying at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, he specialised in innovation management and founding start-ups. His final thesis on the evaluation of product development process models is the result of a stint at Cambridge University as a visiting student.

Prof. Dr. Otmar Hilliges, Assistant Professor ETH

Currently working as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science (tenure-track) at ETH Zurich. He lead the AIT lab affiliated with the Institute of Pervasive Computing and the Institute of Visual Computing. Prior to joining ETH he was Researcher at Microsoft Research Cambridge, in the I3D group(2010-2013).
His research interests are centered around the computational aspects of Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI). As technologies shift computing away from the desktop, it is becoming increasingly clear that traditional means of interaction need to be replaced or complemented with new forms of input and output.

Thomas Kirchner, CEO Proglove

ProGlove has created a smart glove that helps workers in logistics and manufacturing to work more efficiently, unlocking new levels of information and business intelligence. ProGlove develops smart gloves that enable manufacturing and logistics staff to work faster, safer and easier. Process steps can be documented hands free whilst instant feedback to its user is received. Therefore, ergonomics, efficiency and quality is improved.

Dr. Donald Tillman, MD ETH foundation

Managing the ETH Zurich Foundation, an independent, non-profit organisation promoting teaching and research at ETH Zurich.

They endeavour to help maintain and develop the leading position held by ETH Zurich among international universities by purposefully supplementing Federal funds with private financial means.

Prof. Dr Simone Schürle, Assistant Professor ETH

Dr. Simone is researching in the field of biomedical engineering and Assistant Professor for Responsive Biomedical Systems at ETH Zurich. She graduated in 2009 from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Industrial Engineering and Management (Dipl. Wi.-Ing.) with specialization in micro/nanosystems. During her studies, she researched at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, about automated drug infusion and control, and at the University of Kyoto, Japan, in the field of carbon nanotube based nanosensors. She then joined the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) where she focused on magnetic manipulation techniques for biomedical applications.