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August 29, 2016

Turning a cow into a flying machine

Filed under: Animals,Art,Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:22 pm

After Orville the helicopter cat, a badger submarine and a few others, controversial Dutch artist Bart Jansen is currently working on a flying cow.

Together with his collaborator, engineer Arjen Beltman, they are taking deceased animals to the next level by creating something they can fly in themselves, which reminds me of the flying moths from the 1990s science-fiction series, Lexx.

“If I’m going to fly, I want to fly in something weird. So we’ve been thinking about animals that are big enough to fly in. We have a cow at the moment – it’s at the tannery right now. It’s going to be like a bovine personnel carrier, but airborne,” Jansen explains.

If you guys want to get weirder, check out Lexx’s main ship, a huge flying insect that talks to its crew, as inspiration.

(Link: www.telegraph.co.uk)

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August 18, 2016

ResQ food waste app launches in Amsterdam

Filed under: Dutch first,Food & Drink,Technology by Orangemaster @ 7:56 am

Started up in Finland last year and already available in Sweden and Estonia, ResQ, a successful app that offers restaurants trying to sell cheap, leftover meals to hungry patrons is launching in Amsterdam this week. Other major Dutch cities such as The Hague and Utrecht are soon to follow this fall.

Research from Wageningen University claims the Netherlands throws out 51 million tonnes of food a year and that’s waste many groups would like to put a halt to. Available for iPhone and Android, ResQ will first aim at people who come from their work and want to eat something without too much fuss, like lasagna, sandwiches, salades, soups and baked goods, which are easy to sell fast rather than throw away.

In February a Dutch supermarket chain hired a chef to cook food that otherwise according to the law still had to be thrown out, but ResQ is sure to stop some of the waste.

(Link: ad.nl, Photo of an endive potato mash with meatless sausage by Jasja Dekker, some rights reserved)

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August 8, 2016

Restaurant invests in 3D printers for pancakes

Filed under: Food & Drink,Technology by Orangemaster @ 11:05 am
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In the town of Ruurlo, Gelderland, pancake restaurant De Heijkamp is going to let a specialised 3D printer ‘make’ pancakes, albeit not every day. Owner Bert van Zijtvelt will be using the Pancake Bot, a successful Kickstarter project that became the world’s first 3D pancake printer that can make all kinds of cool pancakes (see video below).

Inventor Miguel Valenzuela, a Mexican-American expat living in Norway, credits one of his two daughters for the idea. He was reading an article about a guy who made a pancake stamping machine out of LEGO, when his daughter turned to her sister and yelled, “Papa’s going to build a pancake machine out of LEGO!” The prototype was actually made using LEGO, how cool is that.

Van Zijtvelt has bought two 3D printers, each costing USD 500 (450 euro). According to chef Rob Weijers, the biggest problem is getting the pancake batter just right, with not too much sugar in it, so it doesn’t jam things up.

De Heijkamp only plans on using the printers for special occasions like company events and children’s parties.

If you can get past a glaring spelling mistake and corporate dubstep with motor sounds, you can enjoy what the printer can do.

(Links: www.ad.nl, 3dprintingindustry.com)

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July 29, 2016

Smiley cubes with real-life applications

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

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Physicists from Dutch FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam and Leiden University together with colleagues from Tel Aviv University have developed a method to design patterns that can appear on any cube’s surface.

AMOLF group leader professor Martin Van Hecke explains that if pressure is applied to, for example, a 10x10x10 cube, some of the sides cave in, while others bulge out. By stacking several of these blocks researchers could make three-dimensional structures. Their research is said to pave the way for the use of ‘machine materials’ in, for example, prostheses and wearable technology, as published in ‘Nature’ today.

“Although Van Hecke’s research is fundamental in nature there are applications on the horizon. This type of programmable ‘machine materials’ could be ideal for prostheses or wearable technology in which a close fit with the body is important,” says Van Hecke. “If we can make the building blocks more complex or produce these from other materials then the possibilities are endless.”

(Link and photo: phys.org)

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July 21, 2016

Self-driving bus goes from Schiphol to Haarlem

Filed under: Automobiles,Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:09 pm

Dutch-truck

The Netherlands has debuted self-driving trucks in a convoy, but this week a self-driving bus went from Schiphol Airport to Haarlem, a 20-kilometre ride.

The test was carried out with a self-driving Mercedes-Benz bus from German car company Daimler AG, some of which took place on a public road, but mostly on a closed circuit. The bus was able to communicate with traffic lights, collect data and negotiate junctions. As well, there was a driver on board in case things when wrong.

There is still a lot of testing to be done before self-driving cars become a reality, and it is cool that tests are carried out here. I don’t know about cars dealing with cyclists and pedestrians in the big cities, which still is a major source of accidents.

(Links: www.automatiseringgids.nl, www.zdnet.com, Photo of Dutch Daf & Flower Trailer by Lewis William Harris – Transport, some rights reserved)

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July 16, 2016

Man has travel chip implanted in his hand

Filed under: Technology,Weird by Orangemaster @ 9:37 am

Tom van Oudenaaarden from Utrecht has has a public transport chip implanted in his right hand. The photos of it are nasty because the work has just been done, but the chip works fine, as this very short video proves. So far he has only used his implant to check in and out of ports, and has yet to encounter train staff who would need to check what would normally be a chip card in a handheld device to be sure he’s paid his fare.

And Van Oudenaaarden is no stranger to implants, piercings or tattoos either. He’s had a LED-lamp implanted in his arm and has implanted chips that will start his motorbike and car, open his laptop and his shop. The idea was to get rid of his wallet and a big bunch of keys and show what technology can do.

If you’re wondering, his chip is good to go until 2021. Listen to more about it in Dutch.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo by Franklin Heijnen, some rights reserved)

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July 4, 2016

Dutch robots win Robocup 2016 on penalties

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:32 am

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Eindhoven’s Tech United team has won the Robocup 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, a team that keeps on supplying us with stories of victory thanks to their sweet robotics.

Their match up was against the Chinese team ‘Water’, defending their 2015 title. Eindhoven was ahead 2-1, and after regulation time, it was tied 2-2. In overtime both teams made it 3-3 and much like some games in Euro 2016, it came down to penalty kicks.

However, Water missed all five shots, nicely stopped by Tech United’s goalkeeper, while Tech United putted one in for the win.

(Links: www.bright.nl, www.nu.nl, Photo of RoboCup2013 in Eindhoven by RoboCup2013, some rights reserved)

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June 29, 2016

Dunglish fest on major Dutch online shop

Filed under: Technology by Orangemaster @ 10:54 am

It’s true that many non-Dutch people don’t buy from Dutch online shop Bol.com because their products are often more expensive than ‘that other website we all use’ and it’s all in Dutch. However, Bol.com is currently beta testing an English version of their site, which is a total Dunglish fest done using Microsoft, and so far it’s crap. Instead of hiring proper translators, Bol.com would rather be a laughing stock and insult its non-Dutch customers. I can’t wait for them to make a French version.

I barely got past the disclaimer: “Bol.com uses cookies (and similar techniques) to visit and shop at bol.com for you even easier and more personal. These cookies can we and third parties your internet behavior within and possibly outside our website. This allows us and third parties modify ads to your interests and you can share information through social media. By using this website, you go.” Using American English spelling and in other places British terms is a classic mistake as well.

– There’s a “Baby, Child & Mama” section, which sounds like a lost soul-funk number.
– “Products for every day: The sharpest drugstore and animal actions”. Ouch.

Go have a laugh. Remember they can’t be arsed to hire humans to do this, but I’m sure they have real staff for their programming, accounts and shipping. As they said themselves, “Please bear with us, we do not have it under the knee yet.”

(Link: www.entertainmentbusiness.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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May 26, 2016

Dutch master has mobile phone in it

Filed under: Art,Technology by Orangemaster @ 9:35 pm

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been working in Amsterdam this week, and he also decided to soak up some culture by visiting the Rijksmuseum with former European Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

Cook’s eye fell on a painting from 1670 entitled ‘Man handing a letter to a woman in the entrance hall of a house’ by Pieter de Hooch, where the letter looks a bit like a mobile phone. Cook did think it was a Rembrandt because well, why not, and he also thought the letter looked like an iPhone, when it fact it looks more like a smaller type of mobile phone if you ask me.

Until January this year the Mauritshuis in The Hague had an exhibition entitled ‘Dutch Self-Portraits – Selfies of the Golden Age, which definitely has a mobile phone quality to it.

(Link: www.at5, Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved)

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May 1, 2016

Inventor of bike sharing explains why his plan never caught on in Amsterdam

Filed under: Bicycles,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 4:59 pm

white-bikes-hoge-veluwe-ellywaAlthough bike share systems are increasingly popular all over the world, they have failed to catch on in Amsterdam, the city where bike sharing was invented.

British newspaper The Guardian asked the inventor of bike sharing, Luud Schimmelpennink, about the reason behind this lack of popularity.

In the mid-1960s members of the Provo movement were asking all kinds of questions of the Dutch establishment (the name Provo stands for provocation) and they were not liking the answers they were getting. Young engineer Luud Schimmelpennink was tackling the question of personal transport. In 1965 he proposed and implemented an alternative to the “gaudy and filthy motor car”, the white bicycle.

Schimmelpennink envisioned bikes that weren’t locked and that would be left wherever their riders needed to be. Provo painted 20 bicycles white and left them in the city, but these bikes were promptly impounded by the police.

“The first Witte Fietsenplan was just a symbolic thing,” Schimmelpennink told the Guardian last week. “We painted a few bikes white, that was all. Things got more serious when I became a member of the Amsterdam city council two years later.”

“My idea was that the municipality of Amsterdam would distribute 10,000 white bikes over the city, for everyone to use. I made serious calculations. It turned out that a white bicycle – per person, per kilometre – would cost the municipality only 10% of what it contributed to public transport per person per kilometre.”

The council soundly rejected his plan and told him that they saw a great future for the private motor car. This inspired Schimmelpennink to work on his White Car Plan instead – still using clean(ish) energy.

There is a phrase in Dutch – de wet van de remmende voorsprong, meaning ‘the law of the handicap of a head start’. The fact that Amsterdam was the first to experiment with bike sharing perhaps helps explain why it is late in its implementation. Or perhaps Amsterdam doesn’t need a bike share scheme, because everybody either owns a bike or can readily rent one from OV Fiets or the many bike shops in the city.

Schimmelpennink’s vision wasn’t wasted though, as he inspired other cities throughout the world to implement their own bike sharing schemes. And even his own plan got implemented, just not in Amsterdam. The Hoge Veluwe nature reserve has bikes that have been painted white and that are free to use. The program started in 1974 with 50 bikes and exists to this day. It currently consists of 1,800 bicycles.

(Photo of white bicycles in Hoge Veluwe by Ellywa, some rights reserved)

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