October 6, 2009

Engineering shorts

Filed under: Automobiles,Aviation,Online by Branko Collin @ 8:48 am

soyuz_clogNews from the tech trenches.

– The Nuna 5 solar powered car ran into a ditch last Saturday while preparing for the annual World Solar Challenge, writes Telegraaf (Dutch). The student-built car was driving at a speed of 110 kph at the time. Driver Jelle managed to get out unhurt, but several components of the car, including the solar panel, turned out to be damaged. The team from Delft University expects to have repaired the damage before the October 25 start.

See here for a drag race between Nuna 5 and its predecessor, Nuna 4, during happier times.

Layar (augmented reality) includes an application that will let you spot the houses of the famous called BN’er Verkenner (Celeb Scout). US actor Brad Pitt, enjoying a quite afternoon in his Amsterdam canal house, was its victim in this video posted at Engadget.

Layar is a mobile phone tool that adds a geographic layer to your Android phone’s operating system, letting you check out what’s available near your current location.

The Netherlands has its own space organisation. The NSO (Netherlands Space Office) was kickstarted last Wednesday by Minister Maria van der Hoeven (Economic Affairs) and astronaut André Kuipers. The NSO is supposed to help design and build a Dutch space programme, according to Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch).

Kuipers was recently selected for a half-year stay at the International Space Station starting December 2010.

(The illustration is a mock-up by me, not an actual NSO lifting body design space craft on top of a Soyuz rocket. Photo of a Soyuz rocket by NASA.
Photo of a big clog by Jocelyn Kinny, some rights reserved.)

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July 27, 2009

Dutch apps for iPhone: useful and useless

Filed under: Gadgets,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:45 am

Although this September you could take a course on how to design iPhone applications in the Netherlands, I would suggest you start thinking about what kind of apps you want to unleash onto the world today. Here are three totally different Dutch apps to get you going. Tell us about more Dutch ones and we’ll check them out.

First, a silly app called Walk The Line, a ‘playful sobriety test’ from a well-known beer brand (no, the other one with big green bottles), which is fun if you’ve had a few and totally useless if you’re seriously thinking of driving. If you can count, you’re better off. You cannot legally drive after two beers. If you’ve recently obtained your licence, it’s one beer. If it’s me, drink something non-alcoholic.

The world’s first augmented reality browser Layar by Sprx mobile in Amsterdam is something useful and original. Looking forward to its bright future.

Then, there’s Trein (‘Train’), the still buggy but useful app that pissed off the Dutch Railways. Anyone know more about this one? We’re curious, as if it is still being developed, the big bad railway must have lost or given up.

(Link: trendhunter.com, Photo: Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved.)

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July 1, 2009

World’s first mobile Augmented Reality browser

Filed under: Dutch first,Gadgets,Online by Orangemaster @ 10:19 am

Mobile phone Augmented Reality browser Layar, designed by Amsterdam’s Sprx Mobile has been the talk of the Dutch IT town on Twitter (we’re all friends in this neck of the woods) and just about everywhere else for some two weeks.

Layar is an application that can find everything using a mobile phone with a compass, although for now it can only be used with Android and soon the iPhone 3G S as well. As the name implies, the application provides extra ‘layers’ to reality. “You don’t have to browse on the Internet, you can see your immediate environment using Layar,” Sprx Mobile Director Raimo van der Klein explains.

For more cool developments, follow Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald (@dutchcowboy) on Twitter. He twitters in English as well, and his wife Lori Lens-Fitzgerald (@lorilens) already made this blog with her photo book about world famous restaurant El Bulli.

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