Roald Klumpenaar has won the “Empowered by Robots-Challenge” with his “Focused Assembly Worker“. He left behind the Rollator Inspector and Blind Traffic controller, among others. Klumpenaar earned 10,000 euros with his idea, which according to the jury is directly feasible. Klumpenaar wants to use his solution to help people at the bottom of the labour market by having them carry out complex tasks via a VR glasses or a beamer with directly visible instructions (see also the video at the bottom of this article for his own explanation – in Dutch).

See also: HUBOT shows how people and robots have to help each other

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And this is how Klumpenaar’s technique works (video by himself)

The prize was presented by alderman Staf Depla (Eindhoven, Economic Affairs) and director Jos Verhoeven of Start Foundation. The competition was intended not so much to be for or against robotisation, as to look at ways of making people and robot work together, especially for people with low labour market opportunities. There were 75 interested parties in the competition, of whom 25 ecided to actually participate, Verhoeven said at the presentation. “We can close our eyes to robotisation, but we also have an obligation towards people at the bottom of the labour market. What influence would robotisation have on them? Really, everyone will be affected.”


According to Staf Depla, HUBOT fits nicely in the theme of Dutch Design Week: Stretch. “Two years ago, we started this initiative when the DDW theme was “What if...”. But what if we take it a few more steps forward? We hope to get a movement going so that in 20 years’ time we can get real solutions, on the shop floor, in the boardroom, with economists and even in politics. In short, from What if to Stretch.”


The jury, including Maarten Steinbuch, Wim van der Leegte, Tessie Hartjes and Peter van Rooij, among others, looked at three aspects in the assessment: the impact on new labour market perspectives, the feasibility, and the eye for design and market opportunities.

According to Staf Depla, the Social Employment Services (Sociale Werkplaats) could also benefit from this Award. Klumpenaar: “Yes, that is our ambition. The more people flow out into normal work, the better. We are now going to test the technical support further, but this could certainly help soon.”

All the examples of future HUBOT-professions are shown in the MediaMarkt shop in Eindhoven.

An impression of the award ceremony of the Empowered By Robots Challenge


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Author profile picture Bart Brouwers is co-founder and co-owner of Media52 BV, the publisher of