We're enhancing our body and our human behaviour with a wide range of devices. Each device has its own domain of apps and application. The "Be Your Own Robot" research is focussed on those apps that will have an impact on us as humans or on the relation between human and their environment. Even though the context is not fully operational yet, and we aren't real cyborgs yet, it's the right time to preemptively exlore the apps we'll be using in 10 years time.

Patent Viewer

If we're letting software control our lives through all the hardware we're wearing, will that mean that one day we'll experience the consequences of software patents while doing our daily activities?

Patent viewer app (Hololens AR)

We seem to be living in an era of endless innovation. Reading the steady flow of articles about new technologies and new inventions makes us believe so. Unfortunately, in most cases there's nothing we can hold in our hands yet. Much of what we read refers to new patent filings. This bussiness fiction is often interpreted as a sign of innovation and companies proudly launch their patent filings with positive press releases. But is this fair?

A patent effectively means that others aren't allowed to make use a specific principle. That blocks bussiness from repeating the same trick, but in the near future we as individuals might encounter certain limitations too. Humans wearing augmented reality wearables that is, and such a future prediction seems highly probable considering that all of the influential tech companies are exploring AR: Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

We're heading into the direction of an internet of everything which includes us. We'll be part of a mixed reality with algoritms and scripts controling every object and every human. We're going to live the life of a robot and the main challenge for the future is: how to be your own robot? What do we need to ensure we can remain in control? Do we need to act now?

To let people make the connection between their own daily life and the abstract world of bussiness patents, I've created a visualisation tool that let's people experience what it would really be like, living in the amazing future depicted by all the poetic patent writings and sketches. The "Latent Patent" Hololens app brings to life the scenario in which our behaviour is script-controlled and patentable. Based on our activity and the objects in our surrounding it queries a database for applicable patents to warn us on time when we're about to do something that we're not allowed to do - depending on whether we're being guided by Cortana, or Siri or Google.

The messages played in the holographic app sound like typical patent proza. A lot of words, most of them too generic to get an understanding of the real consequences and impact of the descriptions. That enables the app to twist reality a little bit and to create semi-fictional patent infringement warnings. Hardcore hi-tech meets immersive fiction. "Be warned. There's a patent on that behaviour" -

Configure yourself


How to be your own robot? The starting point is openness about the rules and logic used to process your (sensor)data so you can understand and trace why decisions are being made for you. A connected smartphone interface functions as the configuration tool for us and our connected sensors, devices and services and a way to choose or adapt the behavioral rules that apply to yourself.

Augmented Reality autocue

smartphone version:


Open this webpage on smartphone: