KARL, the “ecorobot”, on show at CeBIT

KARL the ecorobot, is a personal digital assistant, designed to help consumers behave in a more environmentally friendly manner. A prototype is already available and waiting to be tried out by those interested – and the KARL team is looking for reinforcements.

KARL is a so-called chatbot. A dialogue system that communicates with the users and helps them, for example, with purchasing decisions, has large amounts of environmental data and can adapt to the needs of its users. Kirsten Hillebrand, a research associate in business administration at the University of Bremen, designed and developed KARL together with Hendrik Hinrichs. Both have received an award from the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and Amazon for their concept. They are now financially supported and belong to the nationwide network “Digital Engagiert”.

Meanwhile, the two have developed a prototype. Although ProtoKARL does not yet provide users with any personalized recommendations for action. “Interested parties are invited to have a little chat with him,” says Kirsten Hillebrand. “ProtoKARL can supply recipes or facts about the environment, or you can get news the latest news about the project.”

How do you talk to ProtoKARL?

The user can communicate with him in the same way as with a friend via the messenger service “Telegram”. This works much like WhatsApp and is very popular with young people. To start the chat, just look for the username “@Oekobot” – and off you go. “The first users will certainly have to be a little patient with him. However, as the quality of the information it supplies depends on the amount of data it is fed with, it increases with each interaction.”

Co-founder sought with IT background

KARL currently requires a great deal of manual data entry. So that it can automatically give personalized tips in the medium term on the basis of user data, the two economists are in need of an optimized IT infrastructure. They have applied for funding from a start-up program. “We are looking for a co-founder with an IT background," says Hendrik Hinrichs. If you are interested, you can contact the KARL team and receive details of the offered position.

On the start-up stage in Hanover

Meanwhile, others have become aware of the project involving an electronic consultant for environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyles. Kirsten Hillebrand and Hendrik Hinrichs will present their KARL on Friday, June 15, 2018, from 11.10 to 12 pm on the start-up stage of the CeBIT in Hanover. “Tech for Good: Using new technologies for social impact” is the topic. The two developers from the University of Bremen are looking forward to the event.

More information under:

If you would like to know more about this topic, feel free to contact:

Kirsten Hillebrand
Research Associate
University of Bremen
Faculty of Business Studies and Economics
Chair for Business Administration with a focus on
Financial Services and Financial Technologies
Phone: 0170 2984 375

Hendrik Hinrichs
Phone: 0176 61335 522


Young wöman and young man smiling
Kirsten Hillebrand and Hendrik Hinrichs developed KARL.