Berlin Nobel Prize Dialogue with ABB focuses on the future of health and changed environments

Our health is embedded in a complex system, consisting of our genetics, our environment and our lifestyle choices. At the Nobel Prize Dialogue in Berlin, Nobel Laureates, leading scientists and policy makers discussed the future of health, the role of research, and changing patterns in our environment. ABB, a Nobel International Partner, has recently introduced concepts and solutions for a sustainable future in the healthcare sector and our cities around the world.

How will climate change affect health? Can changing working conditions reduce inequality in life expectancy? How can we achieve a healthier life for every member of society? Titled “Towards Health: Equality, Responsibility and Research”, the Nobel Prize Dialogue in Berlin gathered five Nobel Laureates as well as an international slate of leading scientists and policy makers to discuss some of the most challenging and pressing questions of our time. The panel discussions included topics such as the future of drug development and precision medicine, health inequalities across countries and continents, as well as the question on what aspects research and innovation should focus on in future.

  • The Nobel Prize Dialogue in Berlin, titled “Towards Health: Equality, Responsibility and Research." focused on the future of health, the role of research, and changing patterns in our environment. © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.
  • "What Can We Do About the Health Risks of Climate Change?" This question was dicussed in a panel moderated by Gustav Källstrand (left) hosting Sabine Gabrysch, Sylvia Hartmann and Kristie Ebi (from left to right). © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.
  • Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Tomas Lindahl (2nd from left) in conversation with the researchers Juleen Zierath (left) and Eleftheria Zeggini as well as the member of the Bundestag Ernst Dieter Rossmann (right). © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.
  • Economist Alvin E. Roth developed an exchange model that pairs compatible kidney donors and recipients. In 2012 he received the Nobel Prize for Economics. In Berlin, he pleaded for his model, which is not possible in Germany. © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.
  • ABB's collaborative two-arm robot YuMi serves coffee on the eve of the Nobel Prize Dialogue at the Swedish Embassy in Berlin. But our robot can do much more: it is an important component of an ABB concept for the hospital of the future. © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.
  • The Nobel Prize Dialogue is an open, cross-disciplinary meeting bringing together a unique constellation of Nobel Laureates, world-leading scientists, policy makers and thought leaders to discuss global issues that affect us all with a diverse audience. © Nobel Media. Photo: A. Mahmoud.

"Ideally, participants should find new questions and develop new interests in all Nobel Prize disciplines, and I hope that dialogue motivates you to continue learning and to help overcome the challenges of today," said Laura Sprechmann, CEO of Nobel Media, on the intention of the Nobel Prize Dialogue.

This is exactly what the partnership between ABB and Nobel Media aims to do: bridging science and society by sharing knowledge broadly and inspiring people across borders and generations to engage with innovations. With ABB’s recently announced partnership with the Texas Medical Center, the world’s biggest medical city, and a new landscape showing the potential for smart cities to improve the way we live, work and commute, ABB provides two potential answers to some of today’s greatest challenges.

Hospital of the future

With the world’s population rapidly aging and a growing worldwide shortage of medical staff, the healthcare sector is facing significant challenges. ABB has opened its first global healthcare research hub on the Texas Medical Center campus, the world’s largest medical city, and showcased a number of concept technologies designed to assist medical and laboratory staff with laboratory and logistics tasks in hospitals.

ABB’s new healthcare research hub, housed at the TMC Innovation Institute, is a state-of-the-art hub with an area of 5,300 sq ft (500m2) that fosters collaboration of medicine and cutting-edge technology, connecting start-ups with pioneers in academia and leading technology companies in order to accelerate the development and prototyping of breakthrough medical technology. At TMC, ABB will develop non-surgical medical robotics systems, designed to assist the medical and laboratory staff and with the potential to undertake a wide range of laboratory and logistics activities in hospital. Potentially, these systems could reduce the number of manual procedures performed by medical staff, improve the accuracy of laboratory work and enhance patient satisfaction and ultimately patient safety.

  • ABB laboratory robot concepts will be designed to carry out repetitive, delicate and mundane processes alongside humans, leaving highly skilled medical and laboratory staff free to undertake more valuable roles and ultimately treat more patients.
  • ABB’s concept mobile laboratory robot tending a centrifuge alongside human co-workers
  • ABB’s mobile and autonomous YuMi® laboratory robot concept could dispense medicines and transport them to where they are needed in hospitals

Repetitive and time-consuming activities that could potentially be handled by the mobile YuMi® include the preparation of medicines, loading and unloading centrifuges, pipetting and handling liquids and picking up and sorting test tubes. Other technologies showcased by ABB at the healthcare research hub include an IRB 1200 robot that could execute liquid transfers in a pipetting application. All are common medical laboratory tasks that robotic automation may be able to support by combining consistent performance with a level of flexibility and continuous operation that could increase throughput and quality while minimizing costs.

Additionally, the mobile YuMi®could also be used in hospitals for a wide variety of logistics roles. YuMi® may be able to dispense medicines, transport them to where they are needed in hospitals, bring medical supplies to hospital staff and bed linen direct to patients’ bedrooms.

The city of the future is smart and sustainable

“There are actions we can already take today for a sustainable future, for instance, making our cities smart.” said Sylvia Hartmann, the founding member and vice chairwoman of the German Alliance on Climate Change and Health.

Half the world’s population now live in towns and cities, which account for 65% of the global energy demand and are responsible for 75% of global carbon dioxide emissions. By creating opportunities to decarbonize cities, smart technologies and digitalization could provide the answer to those challenges. But, what does it mean to be a ‘smart city’?

Driven by the vision to turn cities into more livable, workable and sustainable places, ABB has developed an online desktop tool that breaks down the collective technical elements of smart buildings, e-mobility, energy management and data centers, all of which can contribute to the design of a comprehensive ‘smart city’.

The interactive landscape shows some of the safe, smart and sustainable solutions that can contribute to the design of a comprehensive ‘smart city’. Visit to find out more.

ABB is shaping its business for leadership in digital industries to support its customers in a time of unprecedented technological change and digitalization. ABB, as an international partner of Nobel Media, is helping to extend the reach of the Nobel Prize to millions of people around the world through inspirational events, digital media and special exhibitions and activities related to the legacy of Alfred Nobel and the achievements of the Nobel Laureates.


Contact us


Share this article

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter WhatsApp