During Dutch Design Week, designer Pieter Husmann presented ‘Hélo’, a 3D-printed wireless in-earphone, a very classy wearable that helps car drivers answer text messages and calls while hopefully keeping their eyes on the road.
We’ve all been in a car where the driver is so addicted to checking their phone that the passenger has to interfere before the car hits the guard rail. Some drivers are addicted to the point of risking death for next to nothing, which makes you wonder if new technology is the solution or better awareness. New technology should help, but I still believe that leaving your damn phone alone is the safest option.
Husmann’s creation combines technological innovation and hearing aid technology that fits into one’s ears, with which you can answer your phone with your finger. It has four buttons for four different configurable functions from answering your phone to opening an e-mail. These earpieces can also be used for running and I would imagine cycling, skating, etc. That sounds like a useful invention even without the driving.
A while back we told you about satirist Johan Vlemmix who had thought of a free app that sends replies when driving because he admitted being addicted to checking his phone and answering people straight away. However, that was just an idea, and clearly Husmann has a real solution for addicts like Vlemmix.
In 2013 we told you about an ethically sourced smartphone, the Fairphone. Today the Fairphone 2, which runs a customised version of Android 5.1, sells the idea that it is ‘as repairable as a modern smartphone gets’.
Owners can replace the screen, microphone, speaker, camera, and main circuit board using nothing more than a screwdriver, with all the replacement parts available directly from Fairphone. The new phone has gone up in price from €325 to €525 and is concentrating on turning into a movement rather than just being a product.
The company’s founder and CEO Bas van Abel says that the most ethical smartphone is the one you already own. The fact that the phone can easily be take apart is quite the party piece.
In 2013 3D printed shoes by United Nude were unveiled during Paris Fashion Week, and this time ice block inspired shoes have been recently launched during Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out in Taipei, Taiwan. The shoes will be on display there until 28 September and feature a live 3D printing installation.
United Nude’s creative director Rem D. Koolhaas said that 3D printing allows them to experiment with new shapes much quicker than before without big development costs and for very small quantities. The shoes have eight-inch heels and were were printed on a CubePro desktop printer using plastic PLA filament.
Drone enthusiast Paul Haerkens has captured himself cycling near Den Bosch, Noord Brabant, filmed by his Yuneec Q500 drone camera in ‘watch me’ mode.
You’ll see Versaille-like miniature gardens, bollards stopping cars from parking on the side walk, flat trees, hints of traffic circles and very little traffic. The film will give you an impression of what a Dutch neighbourhood in the middle of the country looks like: no canals, no bike paths (!) and no bustle.
The catchy music is the intro music to Paul Verhoeven’s classic ‘Turks Fruit’ (‘Turkish Delight’), composed by heavyweight Rogier van Otterloo and performed by Belgian jazz legend Toots Tielemans, all three of which come highly recommended.
Engineers at Deltares Research Institute, an independent institute for applied research in water and subsurface near Delft, South Holland are claiming to have created the largest artificial waves in the world.
Created in a huge concrete tank called the Delta Flume, the waves measure five metres high. The engineers say they can get even bigger waves. The tank holds nine million litres of water, pumped in from a reservoir at 1,000 litres a second. This new facility cost 26 million euro and took two years to build.
What’s the actual use of this facility? To be able to create waves to test life-size water defences. We’re always told that two-thirds of the Netherlands could be flooded, and back in 1953 it was heavily flooded, making water defences essential. Generating bigger waves is the only way to find out if flood defences can cope with rising tides.
The Eindhoven science museum Evoluon had to close its doors in the 1980s, but a 12-minute-long promotional film made in 1968 provides a fascinating insight into the experience for those who never got to see the real thing.
Visitors would enter a UFO-like building perched on top of a glass frame, pay at turnstiles and take an elevator to the saucer section. There they would be greeted by exhibits about motion, magnetism, engineering, the human body, sound, light, society and more. The basement had a popular electronic speech synthesizer that could be made to say the word ‘koffie’ (‘coffee’) using different inflections.
A lot of the exhibits were operated by the visitors themselves.
The film would find an unexpected audience in the UK as it had been selected by the BBC as one of its 158 colour trade test films which were broadcast during intervals in the regular BBC2 programming. The idea was to give electronics store owners a chance to show off their colour TV sets to shoppers.
Dutch satirist Johan Vlemmix, who brought us questionable songs about wearing a burqa and buses full of Polish people, is currently designing a phone app.
Motivated by the amount of fines he has had for using a mobile phone while driving and causing minor accidents ‘with no injuries’, Vlemmix’s app would provide the equivalent of an ‘out of office’ reply but then an ‘I’m driving’ version for all incoming messages, including social media. The app would be available in September for Android and iPhone, and it will be free.
Besides replying to the recipient who wonders why you’re not answering them back quickly, Vlemmix would leave his phone alone much easier knowing a reply was sent. Maybe he needs to tell his recipients to chill or needs to learn to let go of his phone while driving and realise that it is illegal to drive and text because it’s dangerous.
You meet someone and you want to exchange all your social media details, and that’s a lot of work. Dutch-born David Wyler and his American business partner Ankur Jain, both Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with many accolades, have developed a free mobile app called ‘Knock Knock’ that lets you swap details and instantly follow people. Unfortunately, Google Play won’t let me download it to my Samsung Galaxy to try it out, but y’all go ahead.
The app has received undisclosed investments from British investor Richard Branson, American rapper Will.i.am. and American actor Sophia Bush who can all be seen in the promo video. For reasons unknown – and I have asked – Bush was left out of the Dutch sources of this article as well as Jain, which is very odd.
Knock Knock is apparently the third in a series of similar apps, as Spincard and Bump were first, but are not around anymore. Maybe third time’s the charm.
Earlier this year Dutch company Oxboard launched a two-wheeled, self-balancing transport device that looks like a cross between a Segway without handlebars and a skateboard. It uses four gyroscopes that correct balance in real time, allowing users to go backwards and forwards, and spin around. The Oxboard’s maximum speed is 15 kilometres per hour and a full battery can transport you for 20 kilometres.
Currently only available through the company’s website with a price tag of 799 euro, Oxboard was designed in Eindhoven and is manufactured in Asia. It is both for business and pleasure, and will soon be presented in Berlin at a major trade show in order to entice the rest of Europe. Although not my cup of tea, I can’t find anything really wrong with it except for the prohibitive price, which might go down eventually.
One of the most remarkable buildings of Eindhoven is the former science museum of Eindhoven, Evoluon. The building was designed by architect Leo de Bever who died last Friday, and ‘light architect’ Louis Kalff.
De Bever came from a family of architects responsible for many buildings in Eindhoven. He worked on banks, hospitals and schools all over Noord-Brabant. De Bever studied architecture at the Academie voor Bouwkunst in Tilburg and at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA. In 2007 he and his brother Loed sold their architecture business to Leo’s son Stefan and to Heleen van Heel.
The Evoluon building housed Philips’ science museum from 1966 to 1989. When Philips started with cutbacks in the 1980s, Evoluon was, as a non-essential part of the home electronics giant, a logical victim. Keeping the exhibit up-to-date was considered costly and was highlighted as an important reason to close the museum. Since then Evoluon has operated as a conference center, but its lasting futuristic appeal has not gone unnoticed. In recent years, Evoluon was home of Kraftwerk concerts, Tedx conferences and science exhibitions.