The Kids are Alright at MLove Confestival

By Claire Adamson |

Teenagers who are completely immersed in the world of mobile technology will be given the chance to teach adults what it means to be a digital native at Teen Camp, a part of this week’s confestival MLove.

There will also be a contingent of teenage developers shaking up the MLove HackCAMP on Saturday, brought along by Pistachio founder Anthony Barba who believes that kids are coming up with the kind of ideas in technology that adults simply can’t.

MLove, in its fifth year, is a mobile technology conference that brings together leaders in the field including scientists, architects and artists, amongst others, to share ideas and inspiration. The event takes place at a 19th century castle a few hours south of Berlin, and gives attendees the chance to engage with experts outside their usual disciplines.

Speakers at this year’s conference will include Monty Munford, tech journalist and Africa expert, and MLove’s founder and chairman Harald Niedhardt of smaato. Berlin’s startup scene will be well represented with talks from EyeEm’s Ramzi Rizk, Conrad Fritzsch of and Moped’s Schuyler Deerman.

The Teen Camp and its resultant panel discussion will give the teenagers a chance to communicate to the adults what they want to see in the future of mobile technology. It is open to youngsters aged 13 and 18, and has been created together with the Hasso-Plattner Institute’s School of Design Thinking. The group will spend the conference engaging in fun activities surrounding mobile, and will prepare a panel with their findings to present to the group on Friday afternoon.

How Teenagers Engage with Mobile

Last year’s teen panel also looked at the future of mobile technology and what teenagers were looking for in a mobile device. They were some interesting ideas surrounding social networking and tablet platforms in particular, providing the adults with an insight into how teenagers engage with mobile.

As well as the Teen Camp, MLove has sought contributions from other young people. Keynote speeches will be given by two computer science students at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Tobias Sturm is a part of Team Lauffeuer, which is developing smartphone software enabling message transmission in disaster zones, and Maximillian Scherer will present Project Echo, a ‘telephone with subtitles’ that uses speech detection mechanisms to convert spoken word to text.

HackCAMP will also give teenage developers a chance to upstage their older counterparts. Taking place over Friday night and Saturday, it will give hackers, designers and developers a chance to unleash their creativity, the results of which will be shared on the Saturday evening. Anthony Barba has taken along a couple of teenagers, including 19-year-old developer Stephan Schultz, whose Remote Control Apps was one of the wildcard finalists at Startupbootcamp in Berlin.