Instead of scaring off seagulls with eagle noises like in Haarlem in 2015, the Dutch police have stepped up their game and are now training eagles to knock out ‘enemy’ drones out of the air. The idea was to find a way to get rid of drones that are not allowed to fly in certain spaces, such as protected airspaces. The video below tells of a trauma helicopter not being able to land because some moron was flying a drone and blocking the way or another moron flying their drone next to busy Schiphol Airport.
Finding the drone pilot can be very difficult and take a long time, a policeman explains. The eagle in the video grabs the drone with its talons, which are designed to carry things as opposed to just having claws like many other animals. There’s also less impressive tools they plan to use such as casting a net over the drone somehow. “The eagle sees the drone as prey and wants to bring it to a safe location and protect it from outsiders”. The trainers are not worried about the propellers hurting the animal, although opinions might differ on that point. The eagle may even get special gear for protection.
It’s in Dutch, but it’s all about watching the eagle catch the drone.
Inspired by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, ‘sjoemelsoftware’ (‘cheat software’) was crowned Dutch word of the year 2015 today, with 48% of the votes. The definition is ‘software to positively influence the test results of a device, like software used in cars to make carbon dioxide emissions appear more favourable’. Since compound words work well in Dutch, the word ‘sjoemel’ can be coupled with a whole bunch of other words to imply something has been tampered with to defeat a device, a bit like a copper penny in the electricity meter.
Dutch kids have been creative this year, coming up with ‘Tinderellasyndroom’ (‘Tinderella syndrome’), with 34% of the votes for youth word of the year. The word means ‘young people who cannot flirt in real life and depend on mobile apps like Tinder’. What’s odd is that ‘Tinderella’ in English already was a woman found on Tinder presumably by a man, while the Cinderella complex defines an unconscious desire for women to be taken care of by others, usually men. ‘Tinderellasyndroom’ would appear to imply that boys can’t flirt, if we assume that boys usually initiate flirting online in the heterosexual sphere. I would read this new word as mainly boys looking for passive, willing women on Tinder-like apps instead of in real life.
This summer Dutch company Oxboard claimed that its self-balancing device, the Oxboard, wasn’t going to be affected by all the speed and permit issues that the Segway had to endure. In fact, it’s worse: the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has kaboshed Oxboard’s plans to be used as a form of transportation, saying ‘it’s just a toy’.
The Oxboard is also not allowed on the sidewalk, not that most Dutch cities have wide enough sidewalks, and can only be used on people’s own property, which is impractical. To be able to be recognised as a ‘special scooter’, the Oxboard needs ‘a proper steering system and braking system’, and according to the Ministry it has neither. Then again, Dutch law isn’t completely clear about what constitutes steering and braking, as the words used are ‘properly functioning steering system or operating system’ and ‘properly functioning braking system’, both of which the Oxboard has.
Being able to steer the Oxboard with your feet should count for something, however, if you search for Oxboard videos on the Internet you’ll get a lot of kids playing around with one as it if were a toy. To be continued.
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.