The robot owl Flax, mounted on its shoulder strap in Almedalen 2014.

ProjectFlax the Owl

ContactCarl Heath
Competence Areas at RISE ICT
Flax the Owl

Flax the Owl is a project that deals with raising questions about accessibility in society. In Almedalen political parties, non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and others meet every year to exchange ideas, learn, explore, tell and explain. Many locations in Visby have been found to be difficult to reach for, for example, wheelchair users and others with different types of functional variations. This means that Almedalen is not as open and accessible as it is often said to be.

Flax is a robotic telepresence robot which is mounted on a person via a shoulder strap. The aspiration is to show the problem of inaccessibility and create debate about the issue of everyone's right to participate in a fun way. Through Flax the owl, an Almedalen visitor can share seminars and other activities over a webcast, from the robotic owl's eyes. The stream is viewed through a regular webpage and visitors of the webpage can control where Flaw looks and send messages using social network service Twitter which are read aloud by Flax. Flax also marks locations that are inaccessible on a map, available on the webpage.