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.
Ten-year-old Enzo Smink from Wekerom, Gelderland has found part of the jaw of a prehistoric cave lion, according to the director of prehistoric museum De Groene Poort in Boxtel, Noord-Brabant, who said a find like this only happens about every 20 years.
The boy had found the bones back in 2012 while swimming with his father near Oosterbeek, Gelderland, but nobody had realised what he had found. The bones then ended up in a box at his grandmother’s house. It was only when he decided to bring the bones to school for show and tell earlier this year did his mother take a picture of them and send it off to experts.
“The Eurasian cave lion commonly known as the European or Eurasian cave lion, is an extinct subspecies of lion. It is known from fossils and many examples of prehistoric art.”
Today the bones will become part of the De Groene Poort’s collection. They have been restored and one would imagine they’ll be on display soon enough.
The province of Gelderland will try to achieve a world first in May 2016 when it hopes to run a shuttle service on public roads using self-driven vehicles.
The vehicles are called Wepods and should drive guests of the University of Wageningen from the nearby rail station of Ede-Wageningen to the university and back. Currently however the vehicle laws of the Netherlands don’t allow self-driven cars on the road. The province hopes to convince the relevant ministries during a demonstration in October. The first Wepod, produced by Ligier in France, was delivered in June.
Rotterdam was the first city in the Netherlands allowing self-driven vehicles on its territory. The Rivium shuttle bus however does not mix with other traffic and has its own road — it operates a bit like a train without the rails.
Dutch professional football player and coach Bob ‘Bobby’ Haarms is being honoured with a tram stop in the district of IJburg in Amsterdam. However, Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB couldn’t be arsed to check the spelling of his name, as an ‘r’ is missing.
The GVB has six more days to modify the sign before the Haarms family officially drives through a banner on a tram to unveil the tram stop. Haarmslaan is spelt properly online so far. Amusingly enough, the tweet is from a police officer and it’s not clear if she noticed the mistake.
Professional Slovenian tenor Ambrož Bajec-Lapajne recently put a video of him undergoing an ‘awake craniotomy’ where he was asked to sing in order to ensure a successful surgery.
Bajec-Lapajne, who is now fully recovered, was diagnosed with a brain tumour over a year ago. In this video, the music neuro team of the UMC was also involved in order to assist the surgery, like a medical DJ.
“I sing two (first and last) couplets of Schubert’s lied ‘Gute Nacht’ [The first lied of Schubert’s Die Winterreise (‘The Winter Journey’): the minor-major transition in order to see if I can still recognise the key change. All is fine until 2:40 when things start to get very interesting…”
I’m a big fan of Die Winterreise, especially sung by German Hans Hotter (bass-baritone), but it would be great to see Bajec-Lapajne in concert some day.
There’s no blood and guts in this video, consider it ‘safe for work’, and he sings a few times:
On 8 August the news was that a Rembrandt had been stolen in March 2014 from the Philips family (the one from the company) from their villa and kept quiet because of protocol. Then, the Rembrandt was not stolen from the Philips family, but from an insurance company. And now the painting isn’t a Rembrandt, but said to be from a pupil of Rembrandt depicting Titus van Rijn, his son. Oh, and the Philips villa De Laak belongs to the Philips company and no longer the family.
An ex cop has been said to be the fence for the stolen painting, having tried to inform his ex colleagues of the theft back in 2014 and not being taken seriously. The whole story is still unclear, so we’ll keep you posted once the interns have stopped mucking about with it. You’ll notice many news sources haven’t bothered to correct any of the original information, which says a lot about them as well.
London-based Dutch designer Frank Kolkman, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, has built an open-source device that could enable ordinary people to perform keyhole surgery on themselves, aptly entitled ‘Open Surgery’.
This DIY surgical robot was made using 3D printing and laser cutting technologies, and would be suited to do surgery on the lower abdomen, procedures including prostate surgery, appendectomies or hysterectomies. The device would normally be controlled by a person and in this case, using a PlayStation 3 controller to be able to move in all directions.
“Open Surgery investigates whether DIY surgical tools outside regulated healthcare systems could plausibly provide a more accessible version of healthcare,” Kolkman explains. His idea is to demonstrate that medical innovation can come from outside the medical field, as more and more people from first world countries turn to medical hacks that can be found on YouTube.
It cost Kolkman 5,000 USD to make the device, and at the time of filming, he claims that an appendectomy in the US costs 10,000 USD, while a professional surgery robot costs 2 mln USD.
The bus I normally take to get around town currently takes a detour due to construction, which means getting off at a bus stop near the above cool bit of Amsterdam West street art.
Entitled ‘Morgenster’ (‘Morning Star’) created by visual artist Arjen Lancel in 1995, the artwork is located at the gates of the cleaning and maintenance department of the local district. The television and toilet are made of terrazzo, the bin bag of cast aluminium, and the broken wheelbarrow, shovel and wood of bronze. The street light ties the whole thing together because when you walk by the artwork for the first time, you think it’s trash simply because it’s next to a street light. As well, walking from the bus stop you’ll see it from behind, which makes you wonder if it’s not trash. And of course, at night, ‘Morning Star’ gets its own light.
The Netherlands is known for its coffeeshops (the ones that sell soft drugs), but it also has a lot of places that just serve coffee, called coffee houses or if you want to be cool, ‘coffee tents’, the equivalent of ‘stand’ or ‘joint’, as in place, not the soft drugs.
Amsterdam photographer Gijs van den Berg has a collection of pictures he took of coffee houses with actual film, which he then developed with the coffee of the places in question using the caffenol process.
The project is called ‘Gewoon Koffie’ (‘Just Coffee’) and currently includes 11 coffee houses, highlighting the interior, owners and patrons. “Caffenol gives the prints a natural yellow and brown tint, and the different coffees produce an ever-so-slightly different look for each of the prints,” Van den Berg explains.
For anyone in Amsterdam, you can see Van den Berg’s photographs at the Werkplaats of the Volkshotel in Amsterdam for free through 28 August.