Skip to Content
Dan k
Prepping for TEDxVienna
Explorations Dan Chen / June 11, 2016

I was fortunate enough to get  invited by Niels Hansa, the speaker liaison for TEDx Vienna on March 9, 2016.  The conference was held on May 6th, 2016,  titled: “The Future of Intimacy”.

I spend some time to come up with the title, topic and synopsis.

Title #1
File > Save As > Intimacy:
What is Intimacy without humanity?
Title #2 
Making Friends by Making Them
Explore the awkward edges of human and robot interaction, and reflect our vulnerability.
How does technology create complicated pleasure causing us to feel both comfort and discomfort and how we manufacture normalcy to mitigate the discomfort.
Future of intimacy and humanity. With robots becoming more and more human like and humans becoming more adoptive to machines, will we eventually learn humanity through machines?
All humans crave relationships that feel comfortable. Wanting to belong is inherent in our social nature. Human to human interaction is critical to mental health, but what about human to machine interaction? To the extent that we are replacing our most intimate human relationships with machine interactions, are we robbing life of its meaning?  To investigate these questions, I have created something I call Robotic Intimacy Technology.  An example of this is the Last Moment Robot, a device designed to comfort a dying patient when there is a shortage of nurses.

As human beings, we have a tendency to project our humanity onto objects. I have created a series of functional robots capable of harnessing our mental projections to mimic fundamental social behaviors.  I create these objects to investigate and reveal how social intimacy is constructed.  Ultimately, I would like to ask: What is intimacy without humanity?

Prepping the talk

Here are some of the rescues that TEDx provides

TED Talks in a nutshell
A brief summary of TEDx Content Guidelines an excellent video by Chris Anderson on the topic of “What makes a great talk great

My main speaker coach was Vlad Gozman, the curator.

At the tech rehearsal I had the opportunity to receive some coaching from Dale Carnegie.

I had my talk revised multiple times, the content went from the technical aspect of my work to my person encounters.

I used the conference room to practice my talk multiple times, and finally I was able to present to few of my friends.


Generate Content as I Go

While i was preparing for the talk, I was in the process of completing my “Friends”


Programing Friend 3 to trace faces,



Assembling friend 5IMG_3092

Putting Friend 3 together.


Testing Friend 3


On my way to Vienna


Talking the “CAT” to the city center IMG_3372


Arrived at the hotel!IMG_3393

A quick tour before the speaker dinner IMG_3432

Meeting all speakers


Checking out the venue


Several practices before the actual talk in my hotel room.


Hanging out at the speakers lounge before the talk.IMG_3438

People starting to fill out the seats


Audience Makes The Talk

I realized that it’s the audience that makes the talk. They were engaged and were coming along on my journey of making robotics and discovery.

26305863693_88865e2db0_o26306206123_dd5cf70c93_oprivate Aufnahmen26909868165_b9ba222776_o-2

Audience using my Cardboard Friend

26910214995_97403f2241_o IMG_3441

I met two reporters after the talk. I had a great conversation with them.

IMG_3448 IMG_3459

Leaving Vienna IMG_3626

Vienna’s airport is well deigned, from the chair, door, gate and kiosks.IMG_3632

Bye Vienna!IMG_3665

The final talk

DAN K CHEN © 2024