October 26, 2016

Dutch firm unveils new clear air filter

Filed under: Dutch first,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 6:30 am

At the two-day Offshore Energy 2016 Exhibition & Conference in Amsterdam this week, the Dutch Envinity Group from Den Helder, North Holland unveiled what they called “the world’s first giant outside air vacuum cleaner”, a large purifying system intended to filter out toxic fine particles from the atmosphere around the machine.

The system is said to be able to suck in air from a 300-metre radius and from up to seven kilometres upwards. It can treat about 800,000 cubic metres of air an hour, filtering out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent percent of ultra-fine particles, the company said, referring to tests carried out by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) on its prototype.

Fine particles are caused by burning wood and other fuels as well as industrial combustion, adversely affecting our health, according to the European Environment Agency. As well, about 90 percent of EU residents are exposed to levels of such particles, which can cause cancer.

On a much smaller scale, there’s also the smaller air-purifying system called the ‘Smog Free Tower’ that was installed in Beijing last month by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde.

(Link: phys.org, Photo of a particulate polluted Shanghai sky by Wikimedia Commons user Saperaud, some rights reserved)

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August 1, 2016

Student develops airbag for falling elderly

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 2:14 pm


Delft University of Technology related designer Heike Vallery together with Dutch startup WOLK have designed an airbag for falling elderly. As they fall a cushion fastened to their hips pops upon and softens the blow, reducing the chance of hip injuries.

Vallery and WOLK studied the fall algorithm that anticipates instability so that their airbag deploys on time. They claim that the airbag is comfortable to wear under most clothing and the cushions can deploy from the left, the right and the rear, as seen in this very short video. They are still at the prototype stage, but by 2017 they’ll have a working model.

(Link: www.scientias.nl, Photo by Frank Mayne, some rights reserved)

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July 26, 2013

Cleaning up the ocean, a young Dutchman’s vision

Filed under: Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

We’ve mentioned wunderkind Boyan Slat a few times and it has always involved water and pushing boundaries. This time, at 19 years of age, he’s been making waves internationally with his Ocean Cleanup Project, which aims at ridding the world’s oceans of plastics. The best thing to do is just watch the video and let him tell you what his plans are.

Problem: The plastic is not static, it moves around.
Solution: Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you?
Fix the sea water processors to the sea bed, and save vast amounts of funds, manpower and emissions.

In his bio, Slat says: “It will be very hard to convince everyone in the world to handle their plastics responsibly, but what we humans are very good in, is inventing technical solutions to our problems. And that’s what we’re doing.”

This fits in with my personal philosophy that using guilt, shame and other negative emotions to force people to do something positive is not the way to go. I am already looking forward to the rest of Slat’s career.

(Link: m.parismatch.com, Photo: screenshot of Tedx presentation)

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December 16, 2010

Needle and wool invention wins spot in Time Magazine

Filed under: Art,Design,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 10:33 am

Amsterdam designer Heleen Klopper who won the Doen Materiaalprijs back in 2009 for her system of mending holes in wool called ‘Wolplamuur’ (‘Wool hole filler’) has recently been included in Time Magazine’s The Best 50 Inventions of 2010. She had no idea she would be included and found out because people told her.

Watch the video with Heleen showing you how it works. It’s basically about filling up a hole with extra wool fibres using a special needle. I could use this product because I recently found a hole in a green wool skirt I really like.

(Link: dezeen.com)

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November 23, 2010

Bra helps control cleavage wrinkles

Filed under: Design,Fashion,General by Orangemaster @ 8:31 am

Dutch inventor Rachel De Boer had wrinkels in her cleavage at an age when women don’t usually have them, and decided to come up with a way to get rid of them.

Her bra, called La Decollette (in Dutch, ‘cleavage’ is ‘decolleté’, from the French ‘décolleté’), is now being sold in about 100 lingerie shops in the Netherlands. It’s not a bra you wear during the day, it’s something you wear at night to keep your breasts apart, tightening the skin in between. It’s not sexy to go to bed with, granted, but if we can believe the results and the news item on telly, it makes a real difference.

I had heard of breast pillows that do the same thing, but this product obviously looks different and more confortable.

Necessity remains the mother of invention. I tend to just stay out of the sun like an 18th century European aristocrat.

(Links: telegraph.co.uk, Photo: decollette.nl)

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December 4, 2009

A blog of objects used very differently

Filed under: Gadgets,General,Photography by Orangemaster @ 1:00 pm

Dutch science writer Rik Kuiper of Utrecht has a cool blog called the The Museum of Unintended Use, which features objects that are used differently than they were intended. Feel free to send Rik pictures of stuff at unintendeduse (at) gmail.com and follow him on Twitter.

Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of things such as an old bath tub turned into a table with a sheet of glass over it, wooden wine crates DJs use to store 45s or the plastic shopping crates stored vertically that serve as shelves in one of my co-blogger’s bathroom. When I was young my mother fashioned plastic buckets and belts for us to go blueberry picking and I use a twist tie on the zippers of my luggage so it doesn’t open by mistake and can be opened quickly.

This amusing blog gives you a dog in a cup in a car, a wine bottle as a rolling pin (I’ve always done that) and handcuffs as a bike lock.

Kuiper adds stuff almost daily to his online museum. The main criterion is that the object’s conversion has to reversible. As he explains, a lighter being used as a can opener can still be used for its original purpose, but a design coat made from old post bags cannot.

(People of the NRC that we quoted: Your link to the museum is broken (leads to some empty German page) and it’s ‘museum’, not ‘musueum’ in the caption.)

(Links: nrc.nl, unintendeduse)

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June 11, 2009

Dutch dike protects national archives in Washington

Filed under: Architecture,Design,General by Orangemaster @ 10:10 am

File this one under ‘no one is a prophet in their own country’. Dutch inventor and painter Johann van den Noort never got any credit for his work in the Netherlands (was nominated once back in 1996), but this month his custom-made water defences are going to be built to protect nothing less than the National Archives of the United States in Washington DC.

Two water defences, both 2,5 metres high and 8 metres wide, will be installed at the entrance of the archive building. Van den Noort refers to his invention as a ‘floating dike’ or ‘self-flooding water dam’: once the water level rises, the pit with the floating defence, made from polyester and kevlar, fills up. Then, the water pressure pushes the defence above ground, which turns into an impenetrable wall.

Although Van den Noort’s hometown of Kampen, Overijssel saw no use for his invention when it came time to reinforce their own water defences, he did received the award of ‘Best Civil Technical Invention in the world’ at an international invention trade show in Geneva back in 1996, among others.

(Links: idealize and Noort Innovations, Photo: Sanjay K. Bidasaria)

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May 22, 2008

Talking pillbox for the visually impaired

Filed under: Gadgets,Science by Orangemaster @ 7:55 am

It’s not yet on the market (and it will look different than this picture), but two inventors from Breda, Noord-Brabant hope that it will be soon: a pillbox that reads the directions folders of medicine. Once the box is opened, it will start reading automatically. The box makes sure to state that it is medicine and not sweets, a good idea when children are around.

A text can be up to 4.5 minutes long, and a 60-second text can be read some 150 times.

Let’s hope that the direction folders are properly written (an issue about two years ago in the Netherlands), properly translated (always an issue) and not too long (nobody needs to hear an entire disclaimer in 27 EU languages).

(Link: rtl.nl)

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May 21, 2008

Mark Ho and his robot conquer America

Filed under: Art,Gadgets,Science by Orangemaster @ 9:12 am

Mark Ho is an artist who thought up a bronze robot at a lonely time in his life. Just like in the movies, some rich American now wants to sell his art to the world, after having seen a photo of the robot on the cover of Scientific American.

The Amsterdam student at the Hoge School voor de Kunsten (HKU) has been working almost 12 years alone and in silence on the metal doll that moves like a human. Yesterday, he left for the US to talk to an investor about bringing his product onto the market. “At the HKU, sometime in 1994, we were given the assignment of making an animated figure from aluminium. Everyone knows those wooden dolls on the bookshelves. I wanted to make one from metal, but I had no idea how.”

After figuring out many details and even building his own tools, his first doll is now five years old. It consists of 920 parts and 80 mechanical parts. The creature, that answers to the name Artform No 1, can even move its shoulders. “A person is much simpler than this,” Ho laughs.

(Link and photo depers.nl)

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May 20, 2008

A Fokit condom in your keychain

Filed under: Gadgets,General by Orangemaster @ 9:22 am

Yes, they mean ‘fuck it’, pronounced like a Dutch person, which sounds more like ‘fokit’. Again, the blunt Dutch approach, in this case, of always having a condom on you has a less than attractive Dunglish name, but sounds like a good idea. Business students of the Hogeschool Utrecht in Amersfoort came up with this in their first year to show off their business savvy.

“We talk a lot about sex,’’ says Jelle Okkerse (21). “The link with STDs was made very quickly since it is increasingly more of a problem with young people. We have so often not had a condom handy, which is why we came up with a trendy keychain, which can fit a condom.’’

(Link and photo: ad.nl)

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