Having now visited quite a number of labs in Europe, I can say that when Starlab closed we were very far ahead of many other European and US labs - in vision, culture, research, and outlook. Starlab was indeed one of a kind.
Richard Wheeler, October 2001, Research Scientist at Starlab NV/SA
Website is not available anymore
(since about June 3, 2002). See the copies @
The Internet Archive
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Starlab NV/SA was a privately funded, Blue Sky research institute in Brussels, Belgium. At the time of the bankruptcy (June 12, 2001), there worked about 100 people, from which 70 scientists and engineers. The range of research areas was very broad: intelligent clothing, stemcell research, emotics, transarchitecture, robotics, theoretical physics (e.g., the possibilities of time-travel),quantum consciousness, quantum computation, art, artificial brain building, new media, biophysics, materials science, protein folding and nano-electronics, to mention a couple [ all falling within the acronym "BANG" - Bit, Atoms, Neurons, Genes. Recently this combination was recognized at MIT. Also see the Seminar lists ].
Blue Sky Research, Multi-disciplinarity, Deep Future, "Revenge of the Nerds", Creating Wealth, Serendipity and "In this place 100 years means nothing" were some of the mottos.
Nature, Vol. 412, 5 July 2001, p. 6: Utopian dream in tatters as Starlab crashes to Earth. [pdf, 160 k]
Discussion of Starlab by Regina Casonato & Nick Jones, Gartner, Inc.
"The business model and the company strategy were not well synchronized. Management and investors assumed the business model meant that the time to reach the break-even point was relatively short (i.e., the dot-com model), but the initiatives were run as though time and money were not issues, which is the mentality for a basic research model."
Our role is to show the feasibility of crazy ideas. Starlab is a crazy company where you can realise crazy things without limitations. You can get people to back an idea without worrying about whether it will fit a particular business plan. At Starlab there is no risk of being conservative, because we are inventing the future.
Ronald Schrooten, April 2001, in Financial Times article
Websites of some ex-Starlabbers (in random order):
- Ozan Cakmakci
- Richard Wheeler
- Aseem Agarwala
- Jack Klaff [Guardian: The Whole Shebang ]
- Jack Tuszynski
- Roman R. Zapatrin
- Keith Still
- Kristof van Laerhoven
- Leo de Penning
- Christian Decker [his Starlab pictures]
- Christopher Altman (see, e.g., his link to the Discovery interview with Hugo de Garis and Roger Penrose).
- Maarten Loose
- Giulio Rufini, Ken Sharman, Ana Maiques, Manel Andell and others @ Starlab Barcelona
- Chris Duif
- Time: The Lab of Last Resort
- Radio Netherlands: Deep Future Research
- BBC News: Clothes that do the thinking
- Techtrends: Tech predictions from leading scientists
- Virtual Medical Worlds: The Internet is nothing compared to the revolution of the deep future sciences
- Financial Times
- Admiroutes: Le Starlab, une idée révolutionnaire en Europe (in French)
- CNN: The Web site that wants you to spit
- Fastcompany.com: Roadshow Diaries
- MorgenWeb: Im "Starlab" denken hochkarätige Forscher über das Undenkbare nach (in German)
- Time: Not very PC
- Le Monde: Starlab, la start-up belge qui se voulait plus grosse que le MIT (in French)
- Starlab: Et sted hvor 100 år intet betyder (in Danish)
- Tornado Insider: Lights Out at Starlab
- Starlab publications
- Staff at Starlab: [Research] [Management] [Business] [CEO and founder: Walter de Brouwer, his Starlab biography]
- Spin-offs (Media Impossible, BioProcessors, Descriptomatic)
- [Spitters] [Fabric Area Network] [CATBrowser] [World Wide Ark] [Artificial Immune Systems]
- [TEA (Technology for Enabling Awareness)] [Chaotic Computing] [Awards]
- Prof. Hugo de Garis debates with Sir Roger Penrose about the potential future of machine intelligence in this Discovery Today Special.
- The Whole Shebang [The Starlab Magazine] [The play by Jack Klaff]
- Work of Serguei Krasnikov at Starlab seems to prove the impossibility of time travel.
- Starlab in the snow (Feb. 2001).
- Pictures taken at the Zaventem building, 1999.
- Other Starlabs
- The Starlab building (Domaine de Latour de Freins) is now being used as seat of a centre of excellence, BIRDS - Brussels International Research Developmentand Scientific association (in Dutch) as well as BRAINS - Brussels Relocation and Interfacing Networks for Scientist.
Starlab Barcelona still exists!
"This idea is going to come back, because it was too big. It will not be me, it will not be the ex-starlabbers perhaps, but someone will pick up that idea again and make a killing IPO based on Deep Future research. And I will be there in the audience clapping. Perhaps in order to succeed, Starlab had to fail. Damned shame though."
Walter de Brouwer, July 2002, in Tornado-Insider
Examples of other research labs which have/had something in common with Starlab. None of them, however, has/had the broadness in fields of research (though MIT MediaLab seems to move into that direction) and the conviction that it is fundamental science which is the source of true progress:
MIT Media Lab European Media Laboratory Interval Research Corporation (1992-2000) PARC The Egg Factory
AT&T's Cambridge Lab (developers of, among others, VNC) forced to close down (The Guardian)
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Created by Chris P. Duif, former research scientist at Starlab - Last updated: November 5, 2003