De Ingenieur, for news about the future of technology
Technology is developing at an increasingly rapid pace: sustainable energy, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, new nanomaterials, circular production, internet of things, digitalization of the infrastructure… Read all about it on De Ingenieur, the number one Dutch media platform on technology. Interested? You can also subscribe on our English weekly newsletter to get informed from first hand.
Tsunami of technology at SingularityU Summit
There was once again a huge amount to see and learn at the largest gathering of techno-optimism in the Netherlands – the SingularityU The Netherlands Summit – which took place in Haarlem this week.
Engineers, take note of the impact your work has on the planet
Engineers need to take a fresh new look at the impact of their work on the planet, according to KIVI Director Micaela dos Ramos, upon opening the engineering conference held this week in Wageningen.
Electric cargo vessel in Germany
Even heavy cargo vessels are switching to electric. The Technische Universität Berlin is developing an electric pusher boat, with batteries and fuels cells as the source of energy. Construction of the prototype will take some time yet, as it doesn’t even start until 2019.
Graphene solar sail tested in freefall flights
Graphene could be a suitable material for use as a solar sail with which to propel lightweight space probes. However, little is known about how the material reacts to a laser, required for the propulsion. Scientists of the GrapheneX team from Delft University of Technology have therefore conducted tests in a German drop tower. Under microgravity conditions, they will direct a strong laser at a test piece of graphene.
Construction of wood gasification plant has begun
The construction of the Netherlands’ first wood gasification plant has begun in Amsterdam. The plant will use pruning waste from woodland and parks as well as waste wood from the building trade, as raw material to generate electricity and heat.
New iPhone security hacked
Employees of the Vietnamese security firm Bkav claim to have hacked the Face ID security of the latest iPhone. They managed to fool Apple's face recognition software with a mask made of plastic and silicone. The trick will have to be repeated by other researchers though, before Apple needs to worry.
Software erases privacy data on photos
Photos and videos often unintentionally encode privacy-sensitive data. Martha Larson wants to automatically filter out these ‘identifiers’. Her project was one of the winners of the NWO Open Mind competition.
Electrical Lamborghini without battery
Car manufacturer Lamborghini is working together with technology university MIT on a new concept for an electric car. Energy storage is integrated in the composite bodyshell. And that means no more heavy batteries in the chassis subframe, and one motor for each wheel.
Plug-in hybrids prove to be an environmental fiasco
In the Netherlands, plug-in hybrids consume more than 2.5 times more fuel than their type approval would have us believe. Diesels consume 47% more on average, and petrol cars 29%. This is according to the latest data from The International Council of Clean Transportation.
Companies: 'Invest in hyperloop test track'
The Netherlands need to invest in a test track for the Hyperloop. That is stated in a letter that companies and semi-governmental authorities sent to the cabinet today.
Cyborg Neil Harbisson has an antenna in his head
Cyborg Neil Harbisson has an antenna in his head, picks up vibrations from colours like ultraviolet and infrared and can receive telephone calls and satellite images directly in his head. He told his story at the Brave New World conference.
Trucks in procession at 0.3 sec distance
TNO and partners have managed to get trucks to travel in procession at a mutual distance of 0.3 seconds. This is close enough that technology has to be used to guarantee the safety of braking and steering, as drivers can never respond quickly enough.
Computer makes up ghost stories
A new AI from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) can make up ghost stories in cooperation with people. While the actual stories have yet to become particularly creepy, the implications of their AI, known as 'Shelley', will make your hairs stand on end.
Expandable house folds up into container
Dutch company G3 Spaces presents the UnFold, an expandable bungalow of 64 square metres in size. When folded, it is the size of a container. This makes the building easy to move around so it can be placed anywhere the owner wishes.
Microrobot flaps through water and air
This microrobot enters the water from the air, swims round, and then flies back into the air. This air-water transition is particularly unique for an artificial fly that weighs less than one fifth of a gram.
Unused functions render browsers vulnerable
Browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari include useless functions which affect the safety of Internet use. That is the conclusion of research by the University of Illinois in Chicago, to be presented late this month.
Balloons ensuring Puerto Rico has internet again
Project Loon (Google) is sending its balloons to Puerto Rico after it was battered by hurricane Maria, so people with mobile telephones can re-establish connectivity. This is the second time in a year that Project Loon has deployed aid to a disaster zone. Previously the balloons were used in Peru after it was badly hit by floods.
Sensor measures gastrointestinal tract movements
MIT engineers have collaborated with doctors to construct a small, flexible sensor which is swallowed to measure gastrointestinal movements. The data is transmitted remotely, allowing doctors to identify certain gastrointestinal diseases.
Self-taught Go computer is even better
It turns out that a Go computer teaches itself the game to an even higher standard than an artificial intelligence which learns from humans. Google company DeepMind built such an auto-adaptive computer, which then beat its predecessor AlphaGo by 100-0.
Bitcoin turns out to be very energy intensive
The cryptocurrency Bitcoin consumes around 200 kWh per transaction. That's enough to power 20 households a day. And some 300,000 transactions are verified daily. These figures come from Digiconomist, which is trying to establish the cryptocurrency's energy consumption.
Special earthquake-resistant concrete
Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada have developed a special fibre-reinforced concrete that can withstand severe earthquakes. By spraying the walls of an existing building with a layer of the material, the building stands a better chance of surviving an earthquake. A school in Vancouver will be the first to be treated over the coming months.
CO2 sequestration trial on Iceland
Iceland plans to remove CO2 from the air and then pump it into the ground and store it in the rock. The CarbFix2 project of Swiss start-up Climeworks and Iceland's Reykjavik Energy was launched last week.
Wi-Fi security in doubt
The standard for Wi-Fi security turns out to be compromised. A new study by Belgium's KU Leuven university demonstrates that hackers can break in during execution of the security protocol. This means internet traffic can be intercepted or malware can be installed via malicious website elements.
Toyota to test hydrogen-powered truck
At the end of this month, in the Port of Los Angeles, Toyota is planning to test trucks powered by hydrogen. Driving fully loaded for 300 km per day should test whether the trucks are up to the job.
Dutch space instrument to measure air quality
The Tropomi test instrument, largely manufactured in the Netherlands, has successfully been launched. This instrument very precisely monitors air quality in the atmosphere.
Robot hand recognises object by touch
Open-ocean wind farms generate much more energy than on land
A wind farm sited on the open ocean generates up to three times more power than a land-based wind farm. This has been demonstrated by calculations and simulations carried out by researchers in the US. The large difference in yield is down to the continual supply of air flows from the troposphere.
Blade Runner 2049 begs some important questions
Using some stunning cinematography, Blade Runner 2049 challenges viewers to examine the very nature of their humanity. In a future in which people and 'robots' are indistinguishable, we're faced with questions about the soul, self-determination and mortality.