Starlab - LAb[au]

Starlab NV/SA was a multidisciplinary, blue skies research institute in operation from 1996 to 2001 and based in Brussels, Belgium. A second base of operations, Starlab Barcelona, was established in 2000 and remains in operation.

At its peak, Starlab employed over 130 scientists from thirty-six nationalities. Starlab projects included intelligent clothing, stem cell research, emotics, transarchitecture, robotics, theoretical physics, e.g., the possibility of time travel, consciousness, quantum computation, quantum information, art, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, new media, biophysics, materials science, protein folding, nanoelectronics, and wearable computing. These research lines were grouped under the acronym "BANG," Bits, Atoms, Neurons, Genes. The lab sponsored and collaborated with other labs and organized several international conferences and open research symposia.

Starlab's principal investors included venture capitalist Walter de Brouwer, founder and chief executive officer, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, and Pythagorus investment fund manager Johan Konings. European Union Presence II initiative coordinator Walter Van de Velde served as chief scientific officer. Giulio Ruffini continues to serve as scientific officer for Starlab's Barcelona division. Academic and corporate partners received shared intellectual property rights to research and patents generated by the lab.

Starlab's business model depended largely upon third-party investment to sustain its operations. When the dot-com bubble burst, the loss of a critical group of investors forced the lab to close its doors in 2001.

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