Lost In Denmark: Hackers, Robots, Wacky Office Spaces And Sharks

I spent the better part of last week hanging out with some fellow tech bloggers in Denmark – in Aarhus and Billund, to be more specific – and mingling with the people who organized and traveled to attend, speak or exhibit at the Next Aarhus ‘Beautiful Mistakes’ conference and exhibition.

The conference in itself was really fascinating, though not exactly TechCrunch post material even if people working at AT&T, Google and Katalabs were on the speaker list. Topics ranged from biotechnology, “green” productification, sustainability and the reinvention of architecture to social media marketing, context-aware computing and the future of advertising.

Update: I also visited Legoland :)

Terribly interesting stuff, but not quite the type of event I’ve grown used to attending. No startups pitching, no interviewing of or keynotes given by top-level executives from tech companies, no product launches. Awesome, in other words. They even featured a working wind turbine next to the stage, and brew their own arctic herbs-flavored beer for the event (meet Ale 404).

When I was picked up from the airport by someone who works at Innovation Lab, the organization that put on the show, I asked him what the most exciting tech company or startup in Denmark was in his opinion. He had to think hard and ultimately couldn’t give me an answer aside from Navision (which is really a U.S. company since it was taken over by Microsoft) and Bang & Olufsen.

Amazing, really. Also: get to work, Startupbootcamp Copenhagen!

As a self-confessed geek, the accompanying exhibition was a real treat, though: hackers on the loose, a multitude of nifty robots, Lego bricks, an augmented reality-enhanced Sega OutRun arcade car capable of driving (must-see video right here), ancient technology artifacts – the works.

Engadget’s managing editor, Darren Murph, posted two videos of some really cool robots if you’re into that. London-based design artist Vahakn Matossian also has a great photo set of the exhibition up on Facebook. These are some of the photos I shot:

And here’s a video featuring Flemming, a hacker from Open Space Aarhus, showing neat stuff:

Hackers, unite!

As I mentioned, Next Aarhus is organized by Innovation Lab, an international knowledge center for new technology. They have an übercool office space north of Aarhus – I just had to take some pics:

So what about the sharks you teased in the headline, you ask? Here you go:

Yes, there were batoids and other fishes too, but sharks sound cooler, right?

The video above was shot in Legoland Billund. Visiting that theme park was such an amazing experience, however, that I just had to do a separate post about it. Coming up. (Update: up).