For those of us who can’t still still, imagine sitting or moving around in your chair and charging your mobile phone at the same time. Thanks to Dutch designer Nathalie Teugels, you’ll be able to do just that: her chair called MOOV has 288 piezoelectric crystals under the seat cushion that produces electricity when it’s compressed.
Teugels was told way too often to ‘sit still’ and instead of catering to that, she decided to design something that would embrace the fidgeting, especially people with ADD. In fact, sitting upright in the chair can charge it up as well, so it’s a win-win for anyone sitting down. The chair is currently a working prototype, so we’ll have to sit tight for a while until we can get one.
If someone could do that with the utterly useless and annoying habit of pen clicking, I’d be a tad less misophonic. I actually carry pens around to switch them out to people who click them.
Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has created devices described as ‘a solution to plastic pollution’ that people can download and build themselves. The series is called Precious Plastic machines, which uses everyday materials and basic tools Hakkens says are available around the world.
Precious Plastic machines include a shredder, extruder, injection moulder and a rotation moulder, which can all be used to turn waste plastic into new products. Hakkens first showed prototype versions at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show in 2013, and has spent the last two years refining the designs.
Hakkens wants to deal with the reported 311 million tonnes of plastic waste humans create every year, of which less than 10 per cent is actually recycled. “A lot of things we have are made from plastic. It’s used everywhere, but it also ends up everywhere, damaging our planet.”
In late 2013 Hakkens partnered up with Motorola in order to create mobile phones to combat electronic waste: not throwing out an entire phone and swapping out a broken component instead.
A mechanic peregrine falcon was named the best innovation of the year at the European Robotics Forum in Ljubljana this week, Tubantia reports.
The winning robot is called Robird and is made by Clear Flight Solutions from Enschede, a spin-off of the University of Twente. It mimics the flight of the peregrine falcon and is used to keep the air space near airports clear from birds such as geese.
In an interview in 2014 with RTV Noord Holland (see below), CEO Nico Nijenhuis said that real falcons will only hunt when hungry. They also tire quickly. “Once [a peregrine falcon] has made two flights in a row, it’s really tired. [Our robot] on the other hand keeps going. You swap out a battery and it’s good to go.”
Clear Flight Solutions received 1.6 million euro in funding from the Cottonwood Technology Fund last week and is in talks with Schiphol Airport for a pilot project [pun unavoidable]. Nijenhuis told RTL Nieuws last week: “Dutch rules are very strict, but we expect to have our paperwork in order within six weeks.”
This charming little street library was spotted today by us in the Lindenholt neighbourhood of Nijmegen. It’s made of tree trunks with added plastic curtains shielding books from the elements. Patrons are supposed to swap books, which means take one out, put one of your their own back in. The tree was placed there in 2014. Two other book trees have been added to the neighbourhood since.
The idea of using real dead trees to house the proverbial ones is not new. A German project that aims to promote women in construction, Baufachfrau, has been adding similar kiosks to the streets of Berlin since 2006 as part of the international Bookcrossing project.
In our neck of the woods, Amsterdam, it’s actually a bit trendy for houses to feature ‘outdoor bookcases’ (‘buiten boekenkasten’), but then Google shows us it’s cool throughout the country.
The Plus supermarket in Winterswijk, Gelderland has a cook on staff that makes meals from the food close to its best-before date and sells it to customers, a Dutch first according to the supermarket.
While France has been making headlines with its legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away food (a great idea that doesn’t quite work yet), the Dutch have been giving away their expired food to food banks for a long time, not feeling the need to legislate what seems like doing the right thing. French supermarkets can also get rid of their food in a way that it becomes animal feed and compost rather than feed people.
In the Netherlands, even if food is expired and OK to eat, it has to be thrown out by law, and that didn’t sit well with supermarket owner Jeroen Bruggers. He got creative and hired a cook last autumn, Sander-Jan Bats, who makes meals with food that is about to expire. Bats, 32, who has been cooking food since he was 15, cooks in an open kitchen with his colleagues and says he enjoys the challenge. The meals cost no more than 4 euro and are freshly made, a big hit with customers. Bruggers hopes other supermarkets pick up the idea.
Dutch start-up Solar Application Lab (SAL) has developed a solar-powered bicycle in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology, Segula from Eindhoven and E-Bike Nederland from Cuijk. The prototype, nicknamed ‘Sally One’, will be presented next week at the university after which it will be thoroughly tested to see if it holds up in different weather conditions and against vandalism.
“The Dutch Solar Cycle is our flagship application, an electrical bicycle with endless battery power. By applying custom built solar discs to the universal component of a bicycle, the wheels, we enhance the personal freedom of all cyclists. Founder Marc Peters explains that they have developed a technique that is 20 times more effective than current solar cells, making it possible to generate enough energy using smaller surfaces like on bikes.”
Newly founded Dutch company Mosa Meat wants to see lab grown meat in supermarkets in five years’ time. One of the owners of the company, Dutch researcher Mark Post of Maastricht University, was behind the growing of pieces of muscle in a lab, claiming that synthetic meat could reduce the environmental footprint of meat by up to 60%. The original lab meat cost 290,000 euro to produce.
Together with Dutch food expert Peter Verstraate Mosa Meat plans to sell lab meat for 10 to 20 euro a kilo, a price that would go down if this ever become a reality and a consumer habit. A select group of people tasted the lab meat in London in 2013 and you can watch a short video on how that went. English chef Richard McGowan prepared burgers, and not Heston Blumenthal as initially suggested. The critics were positive about the taste of lab meat.
“I think most people just don’t realise that the current meat production is at its maximum and is not going to supply sufficient meat for the growing demand in the next 40 years, so we need to come up with an alternative,” Post explains.
As of 1 January 2016, free plastic bags, the thin ones given out by shops and markets, are illegal. We get it: there’s plastic bags in our seas and forests and it has to stop. However, there are exceptions, as my local baker can still give me a thin plastic bag with my bread. The exceptions have to do with food that otherwise couldn’t be reasonably protected like bread, fresh fruit and vegetables or raw fish. Sealed plastic bags at airport tax-free shops and in the plane remain legally free as well.
For quite some time the Dutch have been used to carrying around plastic shopping bags or cloth ones for buying food, and no fuss is made about having to pay around 0.10 euro for a good one at supermarkets. In October 2015 shops in the UK had to stop dispensing free thin bags and now charge 5p (0.06 euro) for one, something that you’ll hear British people complain about a lot. Exceptions in the UK are pretty much the same as here. Recap: the UK pays 0.06 euro for the crappy thin ones, while for 0.10 we can get one that’s three-four times the size, way thicker and actually reusable.
Instead of getting rid of the next to useless thin bags in the UK and replace them with good ones, charging for something that wasn’t quality in the first place is a bit odd. If you read these stories though, you’d think paying 5p was equal to giving away your first born.
Time to start carrying the big ones around like we do and stop the plastic soup. Simples.
After solar-powered bike paths, heated bike paths and glow in the dark bike paths, the next trend in bike paths would be wooden ones. The city of Emmen, Drenthe has announced that it is planning to renovate a 200-metre stretch of bike path using a biocomposite material made from woodchips and bioresin for its robustness and resistance to wear. Any new material for something like a bike path needs to be able to also deal with vandalism, the weather and last a long time.
If the test goes well, it could lead to the manufacturing of these sustainable biocomposite plates in a factory that would employ 75 people in Emmen. The entire idea is part of getting more innovation going in the region.
Last October the ‘Vlotwatering bridge’ or ‘bat bridge’ was opened in a nature area called Westland in South Holland, designed by NEXT Architects of Amsterdam and picked up an ARC15 Detail Award, given to them unanimously by the jury. The bridge is in Monster (yup, a Dutch town) and it was applauded for its ‘eye for detail and attention to biodiversity’.
According to NEXT Architects, the bridge was designed to house bats in as many ways as possible. The bridge has three specific bridge components that provide roost for different bat species throughout the entire yea, intended to constitute the ideal habitat for various species of bats, so that a large colony can grow around the bridge.