2016 Winners

These are the winners of the STARTS Prize – Grand prize of the European Commission honoring Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts 2016:

Grand Prize

Artificial Skins and Bones

Artificial Skins and Bones Group (DE)
Grand Prize – Innovative Collaboration: Awarded for innovative collaboration between industry or technology and the arts (and the cultural and creative sectors in general) that open new pathways for innovation.

Magnetic Motion

Iris van Herpen (NL)
Grand Prize – Artistic Exploration: Awarded for artistic exploration and art works where appropriation by the arts has a strong potential to influence or alter the use, deployment or perception of technology.

Honorary Mentions


WCMC Discovery Wall

A wall-sized digital artwork created from thousands of tiny screens and lenses was designed by Squint/Opera in collaboration with Hirsch & Mann for the $650m Belfer Research Building in Manhattan, part of Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). The shimmering and animated foyer installation celebrates the college’s research work.


Water-based Digital Fabrication Platform

Inspired by aqueous material formation, the Water-based Digital Fabrication Platform offers a new perspective on water-based manufacturing, combining an age-old crustacean-derived material with robotic fabrication and synthetic biology to form constructs that utilize graded material properties for hydration-guided self-assembly.


V2_, Institute for the Unstable Media

V2_, Institute for the Unstable Media is an interdisciplinary center for art and media technology in Rotterdam (the Netherlands). V2_ presents, produces, archives, and publishes research at the interface of art, technology and society. V2 offers a platform for artists, designers, scientists, researchers, theorists, and developers from various disciplines to discuss their work and share their findings.



Inspired by the latest discoveries in the field of astrophysics, unfold, an immersive and sensory installation seeks to translate into sounds, images, and vibrations, the phenomena surrounding the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies.


SPARKED: A Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters

Verity Studios, ETH Zurich, and Cirque du Soleil have partnered to develop a short film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance. The collaboration resulted in a unique, interactive choreography where humans and drones move in sync. Precise computer control allows for a large performance and movement vocabulary of the quadcopters and opens the door to many more applications in the future.



RGB|CMYK Kinetic is a poetic experience of color, movement, and sound. Simultaneously a suspended sculpture and a choreography of light and music, it has roots in two twentieth-century avant-garde traditions: kinetic art and light art. The inspiration for the work stems from the nature of light, particularly from the duality of additive and subtractive colors.


Fairy Lights in Femtoseconds

In the art & science project Fairy Lights in Femtoseconds, compositions of light field technologies that use laser-induced plasma 30 femtoseconds ultra short pulse laser are created. New artificial matter becomes tangible and visible new material. This project proposes a method of rendering aerial and volumetric graphics with computationally controlled femtosecond lasers.

Bionic Partition

Bionic Partition: Generative Design for Aerospace

The Bionic Partition is the world’s largest metal 3D printed airplane component. The partition is a dividing wall between the seating area and galley of a plane, and it is a challenging component to design because it must include a cutout for emergency stretcher access and it must hold a fold-down seat for cabin attendants. The new Bionic Partition created through a pioneering combination of generative design, 3D printing, and advanced material is almost 50% lighter than current designs, and it is also stronger. This weight savings translates to fuel savings and carbon reduction.


We Make Money Not Art

We Make Money Not Art is a blog that focuses on the intersection between art, science, and social issues. Created in March 2004, we-make-money-not-art.com investigates the work of artists, designers, and hackers who are using science and technology in a critical, socially engaged way. The blog is a personal one; it features interviews with artists and scientists, book reviews, reports from media art festivals as well as accidental explorations of contemporary culture at large.

Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab

Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab

The Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab empowers a vivid community of committed citizens to use inexpensive, open source technology to understand their environments (the air they breathe, the noise they hear, the water they drink & swim in, and the soil they grow on) better and to take action based on their findings.



Time Displacement / Chemobrionic Garden

Time Displacement – Chemobrionic Garden explores a relationship between hydrothermal chemistry, the passage of time, and the evolution of sound. The project consists of several small chemical garden formations in a water glass (sodium metasilicate) solution, to provide an insight into research on the origin of life and on chemical processes.


Sentient Chamber

Located at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C., Sentient Chamber is a free-standing pavilion integrating innovative near-living technologies developed by the Living Architecture Systems Group. Sentient Chamber is composed of a flexible meshwork canopy, housing a network of kinetic mechanisms that use dense arrays of microprocessors and sensors.


Processing Foundation

The Processing Foundation’s mission is to promote software literacy within the visual arts, and visual literacy within technology-related fields. Our goal is to empower people of all interests and backgrounds to learn how to program and make creative work with code, especially those who might not otherwise have access to these tools and resources.


Nosaj Thing / Cold Stares ft. Chance The Rapper + The O’My’s

This is a music video of “Cold Stares”, a collaboration between Los Angeles-based artist and beatmaker Nosaj Thing, who is actively working around the world, and rapper Chance The Rapper. A dance piece by two dancers was produced to express the message in the lyrics their mental situation and conflict searching for reason of being and memories, wandering along the border between reality and illusion.


Project Nimbus

Project Nimbus (2015) achieved the inaugural projection of moving images onto clouds from aircraft. The image (Horse in Motion – Muybridge 1878) is a shared cultural reference between art & science. Beyond the spectacle, genuine collaboration was underpinned by art as research, involving aviators, technologists, and cultural specialists, driven by the power of idea and joy of risk, giving freedom from commercialization.


Instruments of the Afterlife

Instruments are created to transform contamination into valuable materials, by employing plants and engineered bacteria. Instead of mining material from geological sources and using fossil fuels that lead to environmental harm, could future generations use the contamination and pollution we leave behind to build their future world? Can they build balanced relationships with the natural world to be a no-waste civilization?


Hortum machina, B

Although plants lack nervous systems, they can, much like animals, become electro-chemically stimulated by their surrounding environment. Measuring this, we begin to understand the stimulus-response mechanisms that make up their primitive intelligence. Networked together we’ve harnessed their collective intelligence, exploring new forms of bio-cooperative interaction. The result is half garden, half autonomous vehicle a cybernetic lifeform we’ve named Hortum machina, B.



HACKberry is an open-source 3D-printable bionic arm (i.e. motorized hand that a person missing a hand can control intuitively via muscle signals in their residual arm). All the technical data including 3D CAD file, software code, circuit diagram, and bill of materials are disclosed as open-source under Creative Commons license.



Floraform is a generative design system inspired by the biomechanics of growing leaves and blooming flowers which explores the development of surfaces through differential growth. We created a simulation of a differentially growing elastic surface that functions as a digital garden. Within the system, we can explore how biological systems create form by varying growth rates through space and time.

Floating Points

Floating Points – Silhouettes

The experimental music video for Floating Points (the name under which English musician and neuroscientist Sam Shepherd performs), portrays an abstract oscillating light that evolves through the music in different life forms. All lights are in-camera produced effects that are made by a self-developed light paint machine.


Environment Dress

Environment Dress is a smart dress that measures the aggressiveness of the environment to analyze how it affects people’s mood and behavior.


D-CENT – Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies

D-CENT is a Europe-wide project that has brought together citizen movements and grassroots organizations that have revolutionized democracy in Europe in the past years, and is developing the next generation of open source, distributed, and privacy-aware tools for direct democracy and economic empowerment.



Crowdcrafting is a crowdsourcing, citizen science or microtasking platform developed by Scifabric and powered by PYBOSSA our open source technology, where researchers or citizens can create a research project in a matter of minutes without having to develop a single line of code, since we provide the templates and tools that will help them kick start a project in minutes, replicating the scientific method.


Casa Jasmina

Casa Jasmina is a two-year pilot project in the field of domestic electronic networking, or “the Internet of Things in the Home.” The aim is to integrate traditional Italian skills in furniture and interior design with emergent skills in open-source electronics. The project is a showplace inside a large industrial building already shared by Toolbox Co-Working, Fablab Torino, and Officine Arduino.


BlindWiki, Unveiling the Unseen

A community-based smartphone project that invites citizens who are blind or partially sighted to share their own experience on the difficulties and facilities they find in their day-to-day lives.



Apostroph is a prototype of a robot designed to study the intrinsic behaviors of living organisms. Standing up and counteracting gravity is characteristic of living organisms.


Beyond Humans: Perception & Understanding of Actions of Others

How will AI deal with moral dilemmas? Can artificial agents such as androids solve moral dilemmas we can’t solve ourselves? It is possible that we may be influenced by and follow the example of the ‘morally and ethically unaware’ android we have created.



Is the mind separated from the body? #FindingSomethingBondingSound addresses this ancient philosophical question by using state-of-the-art technology to hack the brain & the body and translate their activity into sounds and images related to the deepest feelings, emotions, and motivations.