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 technology platform. Interested? You can also subscribe to our English weekly newsletter to stay informed firsthand.
Delft hyperloop is ready for the speed test
Atlas01, designed by the Delft Hyperloop student team, is ready for the speed race to be held on the SpaceX test track in Hawthorne, California, on 22 July.
Drone saves child in swimming pool
This week students at Eindhoven University of Technology gave a demonstration of two drones that recognise a potential drowning incident and take the necessary action. The drones designed by the Blue Jay Eindhoven Team will give lifeguards the proverbial eyes in the back of the head.
Easier to import fruit thanks to blockchain
When a company imports vegetables or fruit, they still require certificates to be posted guaranteeing the quality of the produce. That's a slow and labour-intensive process, which can also result in the loss of information. T-Mining, a company in Belgium, wants to change this by recording the process in a blockchain. This will speed up administration, and make it more reliable and cheaper.
Elon Musk builds innovative metro system
Elon Musk’s Boring Company has won an order to build an underground transport system in Chicago, USA, between O’Hare airport and the centre of the city. Small electric cars for up to sixteen passengers travel at a speed of around 240 km/h through the 24 km long tunnel.
Quantum internet one step closer
Autonomous boat built by students to take part in US competition
This Friday, the Trident Delft student team will depart for Daytona in the US, where it will be taking part in the RoboBoat competition from 18 to 24 June. This is the first time a Dutch team has taken part in this competition, which puts autonomous boats through their paces with various assignments.
Device that helps you to focus
The Foci is a small device developed by British company Tinylogics. You simply attach it to your trousers, and it can calculate from your breathing patterns how concentrated, tired or stressed you are. You can use this information to learn how to focus longer on your work. The Foci has been on crowdfunding website Kickstarter since last week. The investment required was raised in just a few hours.
Extracting CO2 from air becoming cheaper
Turns out it's cheaper than we thought to extract CO2 from the air. This has become apparent from a new cost analysis by American scientists and engineers. Depending on technical details and economic conditions, this process costs between 94 and 232 dollars (80 to 197 euros) per ton CO2. Up till now, the estimated costs were around 600 dollars per ton.
Competition for solar panel polishing robots
The best solar panel polishing robot was built by a team from the University of Hasselt. Twelve Benelux student teams competed against each other during the Dutch Technology Week in Eindhoven.
NAM launches storage project using compressed air together with Storelectric
In collaboration with NAM, the English company Storelectric is planning to build a plant to store renewable electricity by compressing air. Storelectric was the winner of the NAM70 Challenge that the gas company organised to celebrate its 70th anniversary.
Sustainable home for Dubai presented
This week, on the Eindhoven University of Technology campus, the VIRTUe student team presented its sustainable home. This is part of a sustainable flats concept with which the team will be participating in the Solar Decathlon in Dubai in November. During the Dutch Technology Week, visitors may come and admire the ‘penthouse’ flat for real.
Pioneering Spirit positions drilling platform
The Pioneering Spirit is the first to position a 22,000 tonne drilling platform on its substructure. This special ship operated by the Allseas offshore company thereby set a new record: the heaviest ever installation job in one go.
Smart crusher saves concrete and CO2
The SmartLiberator, a machine for crushing rubble, makes it possible to recycle ground concrete while the recovered cement saves CO2. New Horizon Urban Mining and the Rutte Groep presented the new machine.
The Netherlands has a chance to produce electrolysers
The Netherlands should focus on the development and production of electrolysers that convert renewable energy into green hydrogen. AkzoNobel's Joost Sandberg argued this point yesterday during a meeting entitled ‘Our energy future’ of the Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI).
Nuclear battery delivers 10x more energy
Russian researchers have developed a nuclear battery that delivers 10x more energy per gram than current button cell batteries. The battery has an operating life of a number of decades.
Waste-to-energy plant in Duiven to store CO2
The AVR waste-to-energy plant in Duiven is set to capture CO2 and supply it to the local horticulture sector. This relates to a sixth of the plant's total emissions.
Versatile autonomous small boat for Amsterdam
Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a small, modular boat that could be used in future in cities where there is a lot of open water, such as Amsterdam and Venice. The autonomous vessel can be made using a 3D printer and it is capable of manoeuvring very precisely.
The Ocean Cleanup tests first section of plastic collection screen
The Ocean Cleanup has started testing the first 120 m of the screen designed to collect ocean plastic. The test is intended to assess how the screen behaves at sea.
App shows parents why their baby is crying
Hearing-impaired parents cannot hear when their baby is crying, let alone hear why. Is he tired, hungry, or simply unhappy? A new app now provides a solution. From an audio recording of only five seconds, the app can determine the reason for a baby's screams, so that the parents can spring into action.
Companies prepare for General Data Protection Regulation
As of 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes force. The GDPR is a European regulation that forces companies, foundations and institutions to track precisely what happens to the data of their clients or members. The adoption of this act is causing a lot of stress among companies. ‘But they've been obliged for years already to be aware of how they process data, and they should have been storing data securely for many years too.’
3D printer produces fish ladder
As of this autumn, the Netherlands will have the first 3D printed fish ladder. The design has been optimised using simulation software for the required flow and choice of fish. 3D printing is the ideal way of producing the somewhat unusual shapes required.
Electric truck from the Netherlands
DAF Trucks and VDL have presented their first electric truck. With a range of 100 km, it was designed for the distribution of cargo in cities, where the need for quiet, emission-free vehicles is the most acute. Electric trucks will be delivered to their first customers late this year.
Delivery service is going to deploy hydrogen tricycles
This year, a delivery service in Bremen is going to start using an electric tricycle that runs on hydrogen. It will make deliveries from a depot to parts of the city which are difficult for trucks to access.
Cities must invest in cyclists
If European cities are to become future-proof, they need to start investing heavily in infrastructure for cyclists. That is the conclusion of a report published by Sweco engineers this week.
Test predicts degradation of paintings
In the twentieth century, painters such as Picasso and Mondrian used titanium white pigment in their white paint. However, if this paint is exposed to excessive amounts of UV light, it pulverises. Delft PhD student Birgit van Driel therefore developed a test to detect this problematic white pigment. She recommends managers of collections and private collectors to submit paintings to this test, so that they can take protective measures where necessary.
Patch turns any part of the body into a touchscreen
A new patch can turn any part of the body into a touchscreen that is just as sensitive as your smartphone screen. And it can be operated using more than one finger.
Young engineers opt for sustainable and circular
Sustainable energy and circularity must play a larger role in the work of young engineers than is currently the case. That was the conclusion of a questionnaire by the Royal Dutch Institute of Engineers (KIVI). 'Young professionals feel a strong need to do something good for Mother Nature.'
Fossil fuel springboard for sustainable alternatives
Companies such as Shell, Gasunie and NOGEPA regard themselves as springboards for the energy transition to sustainable alternatives, according to the KIVI conference titled Moving away from fossil fuels.Companies such as Shell, Gasunie and NOGEPA regard themselves as springboards for the energy transition to sustainable alternatives, according to the KIVI conference titled Moving away from fossil fuels.
Computer equals doctor in detecting breast cancer
An algorithm has proved it can assess the risk of breast cancer in women just as effectively as an experienced doctor. A new study shows that a trained computer program can reliably recognise risky mammary tissue, something that normally includes a degree of guesswork for doctors.
Microscope makes 3D videos of living cells
For many years, biologists were unable to effectively study living cells in action, but that is now changing thanks to a pioneering development by American physicists and engineers. They combined three microscopy techniques in one device that makes crystal-clear images of cells at work.
Even macro objects can become entangled
Entanglement, the quantum-mechanical phenomenon by which objects instantaneously copy each other's behaviour, now appears to work on macro objects too. Two studies show how vibrating objects can become entangled. Until now this was only possible with a few atoms or light particles.
Monster machine for ships
The costs of maintenance and inspection of ships are substantial. But these costs are slashed by tens of millions of euros thanks to the hexapod, the ‘beast of Delft University of Technology’, presented last week.
Attack on Bitcoin easier than previously thought
It turns out to be easier than previously thought to attack the Bitcoin network, and thus to change the rules of the network. Researchers from the University of Twente presented this finding at an international conference at the end of last week. A successful attack is possible within a couple of days with just 20% of all the computational power of the network, computer scientists from the University calculated.
Facelift for the Afsluitdijk
The Afsluitdijk is getting a major overhaul: concrete cladding on the Wadden Sea side, and extra sluices and pumps at Den Oever in order to discharge water from the IJssel river.
Exoskeleton is bad for your back
An exoskeleton designed to give your arms extra strength, is bad for your back. American researchers have discovered that a commercially available exoskeleton increases pressure on the back by more than 50%.
Runners collect data to prevent injuries
Yesterday, twelve participants joined in the Half Marathon of Enschede with eight motion sensors on their body. Using the data they collected, a group of companies is developing a running app that recognizes injuries before they occur. When runners tire, their running technique deteriorates and they become more susceptible to injuries.
Dutch company to build support structure for Extremely Large Telescope
Dutch company VDL has been commissioned to build the support structure for the main mirror of the Extremely Large Telescope. The mirror has a diameter of 39 m.
Schelde Delta Industrial Sector sets sail for sustainability
Energy-intensive companies in the Schelde delta have published a roadmap that will reduce their CO2 emissions by 90%. It will require an investment of around 700 million euros.
European road trip in electric car is no simple feat
Completing a road trip through Europe in an electric car is by no means simple, according to the German engineer Tim van den Maagdenberg. It's all about planning, planning and yet more planning, according to his travel blog.
3D printer produces made-to-measure sports mouthguards
The Dutch companies DSM and 3DMouthguard have developed a process to print made-to-measure sports mouthguards. It takes just a couple of hours, from scanning the upper jaw, to completing the printing process.
Playing a board game to learn about war
Research institute TNO has developed a kind of board game that helps players to understand the threat posed by hybrid warfare. That is a type of conflict in which economic, social and military weaknesses are exploited by a nation state. The board game presents players with events and asks them to respond.
Drone helps inspect planes
At a recent exhibition, aircraft manufacturer Airbus presented a drone designed to inspect damage to planes. In the hangar, the drone flies independently around the aircraft, takes crystal clear photos of the fuselage and sends them to a database for further inspection. Airbus expects the drone to result in faster, better and safer inspection routines.
Circular restaurant in Utrecht
The Green House, a circular building with a restaurant, has opened its doors just next to Utrecht Central Station. The modular building will stay up for fifteen years and can be fully dismantled. Cooking is done non-electrically and almost the entire building and interior is fully re-usable. What's more, the business case is profitable.
Brain surgery using a Hololens
Together with the UMC University Hospital of Utrecht (UMCU), the Dutch software company InfoSupport has developed an application for the HoloLens, which provides neurosurgeons with three-dimensional images of the brain they are to operate on. This helps them prepare for the operation and makes it easier to navigate to the correct location during surgery.
Algorithm predicts welfare fraud
Headset can read minds
Trial to produce clay from sea sludge
As of today, engineers in Groningen are working at converting bay mud into clay. A dredging ship will collect sludge from the Eems-Dollard estuary and barge it to depots, where it will spend three years being compacted into clay strong enough to reinforce dikes.
Solar geoengineering necessary for climate targets
Based on the current measures in place, we will not achieve the climate targets of the Paris Agreement, so supplementary measures appear to be needed. One of these is solar geoengineering – blocking the sun's rays by seeding particulates in the atmosphere or making clouds whiter, for instance. These techniques will likely become indispensable if we are to achieve climate targets, researchers in the US write.
Injectable bandage for combat situations
By adding nanoparticles to an existing hydrogel, US researchers have created a material which clots blood faster and therefore promotes healing. It could prove very useful for the armed forces, where many soldiers still die due to untreatable (internal) bleeding.
Fleet of electric buses around Schiphol
Last week Connexxion presented a fleet of 100 electrically powered buses at Schiphol. The buses run in the Amstelland-Meerlanden region. It is the world's biggest ‘zero emissions’ project with the largest number of electric buses taking to the road in one go.
Team of students improves exoskeleton
The team of students known as MARCH, from Delft University of Technology, presented an improved version of their exoskeleton last week. Such an exoskeleton enables paraplegics to walk again. One of the new additions is an ankle joint.
Uber and out?
On 18 March 2018, there were probably more than three thousand traffic victims worldwide, just like any other day. But one of those victims gained more attention than any of the rest, after Elaine Herzberg died in a collision with an autonomous Uber test car.
Arizona prohibits Uber's autonomous test cars
Uber is no longer allowed to test autonomous cars in Arizona for the time being. That was the decision taken by the state governor in reaction to last week's fatal accident.
Potassium improves perovskite-based solar cells
Solar cells made of perovskite can be made more stable by adding a small amount of potassium iodide. This has been demonstrated by material scientists from Delft and Cambridge. The potassium ions secure the material at a microscopic scale, so that it degrades more slowly. What's more, it also becomes more efficient thanks to the potassium.
Belly sensors measure stomach activity
For some people whose stomach doesn’t function properly, a catheter with sensors is inserted to examine the stomach. This requires a (light) anaesthetic, but doctors are keen to measure stomach activity non-invasively and while the patient is carrying out their normal daily activities. That's now possible using a new test device made up of electrodes stuck to the belly that record the electrical activity of the stomach.
Micro-mechanical engineer Nima Tolou wins Prince Friso Engineering Award
Dr. Nima Tolou (35), university lecturer in precision mechatronics at Delft University of Technology was selected this week for the 2018 Engineer of the Year Award. He received the Prins Friso Engineering Award from jury chair Micaela dos Ramos, director of the Royal Netherlands Society of Engineers (KIVI). The award ceremony took place at the University of Groningen in the presence of the Dutch Royal Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel.
Proof at last: Van Leeuwenhoek ground his microscope lenses
Researchers from Delft University of Technology and Rijksmuseum Boerhaave have solved a centuries-old puzzle regarding the microscopes of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. He used thin lenses that he ground himself.
Professors warn about 'dragnet' act
The new Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act (the 'Dragnet' Act), is a threat to cyber security, assert dozens of professors from the world of computer science and cyber security.
Failure trial of dike with sheet piling completed successfully
A dike with sheet piling successfully completed a fail-test near the village of Eemdijk. The trial was designed to provide insight into the interaction between the dike and the sheet piling, with the aim of using less heavy-duty sheet piling in future.
Offshore test with water hammer
Together with a consortium of energy concerns and wind turbine fitters, start-up Fistuca is to carry out a major offshore test with its water hammer. This test is designed to demonstrate that a turbine foundation of 6.5 m in diameter can be pile driven into the seabed without making too much noise.
Making Amsterdam more sustainable
Making Amsterdam sustainable by 2050 means that the city must connect 100 homes a day to the existing heating main and fit 325 solar panels to roofs. That's the revelation recently presented in the Energy Transition Roadmap.
Lithium and cobalt shortage by 2050
The arrival of electric cars has quickly increased the demand for lithium and cobalt. If no action is taken, they will be in short supply by 2050, German researchers have warned. Moreover, these materials are mainly mined in politically unstable countries. The solution to these problems lies in (better) recycling of batteries and development of new types of batteries based on other materials.
Kitty Hawk presents autonomous flying taxi
Kitty Hawk, a company headed by the ‘godfather of autonomous driving’ Sebastian Thrun, unveiled its autonomously flying air taxi Cora on 13 March. The electrically powered aircraft takes off and lands vertically, offers room for two people, and flies 100 km on a single battery charge. There is no pilot on board.
How useful is the new 'dragnet' act?
If the result of the referendum on 21 March fails to change anything in the new Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act, those services will be able to do a great deal more from 1 May onwards. The question is how useful ‘tapping’ the Internet will be and how often the security services will make use of the option.
KIVI energy plan: irregular wind and solar supply can be buffered
In a new KIVI energy plan, our economy will run almost entirely on solar and wind. And it shows how we can buffer the irregular supply.
Sustainable chemical sector is viable
According to the Roadmap 2050, published on 7 March, the Dutch chemical sector will be able to comply with the 90% CO2 emission target reduction by 2050. This will, however, require a 63 billion euro investment and far-reaching technological development.
Car contains a lot of precious metals
Old cars ending up in the scrapyard contain large amounts of valuable material. Because cars contain an increasing proportion of high-tech electronics, the concentration of precious metals in the vehicles is also on the up. These metals are currently not recycled from cars, despite the great benefits this would entail.
Laser sees objects hidden around corners
Devices can identify objects outside their field of vision thanks to a laser. In the future, cars will be able to recognise a child standing on the road around the next bend, for example, and will be able to brake in time.
Cleanup of ocean plastic starts this summer
If all goes according to plan, the first plastic collector from The Ocean Cleanup will commence its journey in July from California to the Grand Pacific Garbage Patch. For a whole year, the U-shaped pipe is set to collect waste plastic there. Sensors on the system and the auxiliary ships around it will monitor the project's progress.
Investigation into Korean ferry disaster
The MARIN Research Institute has spent the past two months covertly investigating the ferry disaster in Korea. In 2014, the MV Sewol sank off the Korean coastline, resulting in the death of 304 people. MARIN aims to discover how the ship could sink.
The art of science
In an exhibition called True Beauty – Where science and art meet, the walls of the Stedelijk Museum Breda are adorned with scientific images as if they were true works of art. 'Some researchers give their work an almost artistic allure that is more at home in a museum than a laboratory.' The exhibition just opened and will run through Sunday 19 August.
Absorbent material reduces roadside bomb-related brain damage
A military vehicle that drives over a roadside bomb or a landmine is subject to massive vertical acceleration so severe that it often results in brain damage to the soldiers involved. Material experts at the University of Maryland have now presented a possible solution: a layer of polyurea between the chassis and the vehicle's floorboards. The first tests show that this absorbent material can reduce the acceleration caused by the bomb by as much as 80%.
Virtual scent landscape for mice
In order to understand how the brain processes smells, American scientists have developed a virtual reality (VR) system for mice, containing a specific pattern of smells. The animals were able to navigate their way around the VR system, by simply following their nose.
Private browser can become truly private
The anonymous window of a browser, in which history and cookies are not stored, can be rendered safer thanks to a few simple tweaks. Researchers at MIT have designed a new system in which information from an anonymous browser is stored unrecognisably on a computer.
Nanostructure gives bacteria their colour
Researchers have unravelled the mechanism that causes bacterial colonies to change colour. By genetically modifying the micro-organisms slightly, they move to a different nanostructure, giving them a different colour. In future, bacteria may be used as biodegradable paint.
New hyperloop to break speed record
The new hyperloop developed by the Delft Hyperloop student team is set to break the speed record for vacuum transport. The team presented the design for their new pod this week, which is set to travel at a speed exceeding 480 km/h.
Autonomous car could have a more economical drive
While an autonomous car uses more electricity due to all the electronic components, its economical driving style may still be more environmentally friendly. That is the conclusion of American research into the life cycle of autonomous vehicles.
TU Delft excludes non-EU students
The Computer Science and Engineering Bachelor program at TU Delft is no longer open to non-EU students. The university took this decision after 1100 students enrolled, forty-five percent of them coming from outside the EU.
European geothermal energy good for 500 GW of electricity
Europe possesses enough geothermal energy for 500 GW of electrical capacity, which is equal to half of the capacity of existing power plants that use gas, coal and nuclear energy. But if you want to keep the price of this to an acceptable level, then the drilling process needs to become a lot cheaper. That was the conclusion of geologist Jon Limberger, who obtained his doctorate today from Utrecht University.
Flame-spewing flying machines at DroneClash
Lightning-fast manoeuvres, smashing rotor blades, parts flying everywhere and balls of fire. If you'd watched the introduction clip, you'd certainly expect a spectacle during the first edition of DroneClash last Tuesday. Six drone teams were competing in a hangar near Katwijk, with virtually no holds barred. And spectacular it certainly was, though with a serious undertone by the organisers. They hope that the event will promote the development of systems for control of drones.
Four-legged robot opens door for its pal
Hydrogen car wins over electric car
As far as hydrogen-powered transport is concerned, the cost of infrastructure will ultimately be lower than for electric cars. Germany's Jülich Research Centre has arrived at this striking result based on a theoretical study of 20 million vehicles running on hydrogen or electricity.
Compact molecular switch that uses light
Dutch and Spanish scientists have discovered a molecular switch which functions under the influence of light. It was already known that such things existed, but this one is much more compact than its predecessors. And that comes in handy if you want to use such a switch to make new materials for the targeted release of medication or to trigger a chemical reaction, for instance.
Densified wood performs like steel
Dutch consortium wants for solar park at sea
Wearable sensor allows skin to breathe
There is an increasing need for electronic devices that monitor bodily functions, specifically in the healthcare sector, but also for top athletes. However, mini sensors stuck to the skin hinder the release of moisture and can result in irritation. Japanese engineers have now presented the solution: a sticky sensor which fits like a second skin and is breathable.
3D printing using living cells
There is a smart trick that allows robust structures to be 3D printed while containing living cells. This was demonstrated by researchers from the University of Twente. The crux is to combine two miniature printheads, one of which generates drips and the other a continuous jet of fluid. The two flows merge, creating a new material in the air.
Space on the North Sea for large-scale wind farms
The North Sea has plenty of space for large-scale wind farms, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, or PBL). The number of areas designated as nature reserves could also increase significantly. But that's only possible with stringent controls, as things are busy on the water.
Recycling batteries could be much more efficient
A new approach to recycling lithium batteries uses half as much energy as other methods. And that would make battery recycling much more popular. And that is really necessary, as lithium-ion batteries are used in a huge number of devices and cars.
Underground disposal safe for dutch nuclear waste
The safety of underground disposal facilities for highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants can be guaranteed for a million years. That's the conclusion of a study carried out by Covra, the Dutch storage facility for radioactive waste. Such an underground disposal facility will cost some two billion euros.
Fitness app reveals locations of secret military bases
The Strava app keeps track of the activity of people participating in sport, including their jogging routes. As a result, US military personnel that used the app while training unintentionally divulged the locations of a number of secret military bases.
Organs projected onto the body
A team of physicians and programmers in Canada have developed augmented-reality (AR) software that projects the body's internal organs onto the skin. The 3D images are calculated using different CT and MRI scans. The new AR technique makes the inside of a patient's body clearly visible and can be used for educational purposes, surgical planning and consultations between doctors.
Three telescopes begin inexpensive search for planets
Yesterday three ExTrA telescopes started their first observations. Located in the Chilean desert, they are tasked with searchYesterday three ExTrA telescopes started their first observations. Located in the Chilean desert, they are tasked with searching for planets using inexpensive hardware.ing for planets using inexpensive hardware.
Contact lens measures glucose in tears
Engineers and materials scientists in South Korea have developed a contact lens that monitors glucose levels in tear fluid. This application has been under development for some time, but the material they are using represents a major step forward.
Test of automatic driving on Betuwelijn rail route
Rail company Alstom is starting a trial this year with automatic driving of a goods train on the Betuwelijn route. The train driver is still present in the cab to check that everything is going well and to intervene if necessary.
Sixth sense for magnetic fields
Students of TU Delft build amazing robots
Students of Delft University of Technology have presented various robots in the Science Centre Delft, including an insatiable duckweed-eater and Fizzy, a cuddly robot ball for children suffering from cancer.
Extreme weather the greatest threat to humanity
Extreme weather constitutes the greatest threat to humanity, the World Economic Forum asserts in its yearly Global Risk Report. A trend we have already witnessed very clearly for several years: the earth is becoming less and less liveable for us.
Autonomous flying taxi at motor show
At the Detroit Motor Show, AirSpaceX demonstrated a scale model of the Mobi-One, an autonomous flying taxi that can take off and land vertically (VTOL) and reach a speed of 400 km/h.
Go-ahead for floating solar farm
A floating solar farm with 6150 panels, sufficient to supply 600 households with electricity, is to be installed on the irrigation water reservoir near Bemmel. The Lingewaard solar farm will thus become the largest floating farm in the Netherlands.
Sexual intimidation in technical occupations
A fifth of women in technical occupations experience sexual intimidation, according to a recent study in the US. In a male-dominated setting, they also have to deal with disadvantage or discrimination more often than women in non-technical sectors.
Netherlands working on defence against quantum computers
Two Dutch research institutes, the CWI and TNO, are working together with European partners on computer security that is resistant to quantum computers. They are hoping to find a new way of encrypting data within four years.
Autonomous food delivery is gaining popularity
Two driverless delivery vehicles are being presented this week at electronics fair, CES. A pizza delivery bus bakes the fresh pizza while the vehicle is en route. And a fruit and vegetables bus is bringing the mobile shop back to the road.
Major electrolysis factory in Dutch town Delfzijl
Gasunie and AkzoNobel want to build a 20 MW electrolysis factory in Delfzijl, they announced today. The installation will convert water into oxygen and hydrogen, with the hydrogen gas used to power clean cars and buses and as a raw material for chemical concerns.
Dutch start-ups at the largest electronics fair CES
This week, the largest technology fair of the year, CES (Consumer Electronics Show), is being staged in Las Vegas. Not only are the largest technology companies presenting their latest products here, it is also THE place for start-ups to network.
Solution for 'Meltdown' chip leak full of risks
Chips in computers and telephones appear to have been vulnerable for some time. Clever hackers can steal information via the controller of the semiconductors.
New approach to MRI scans replaces biopsies
A new combination of MRI scans clarifies directly whether a kidney tumour is benign or malignant. This may reduce the number of biopsies, avoiding having to remove tumour tissue for examination. The technique has been developed by doctors and engineers in a cancer hospital in Texas.
New material for better hip implants
WiFi app helps track people in distress
Engineers at the Spanish University of Alicante have developed an app that tracks a telephone even when there’s no reception. This could provide a solution for people in distress who need help from rescue workers. The app uses the WiFi signal for this.
Dutch start-ups to keep an eye on
In its ‘Dutch Funding Overview 2017’, StartupJuncture reports that over 757 million euros was invested in Dutch start-ups in 2017 – significantly more than the 260 million euros or so in 2016.
The hidden juwels of the past year
In a year which saw many major events, some great initiatives, projects and studies can be drowned out by the technical tempest. De Ingenieur has taken a dive into last year's articles, to choose the best news of the past 12 months. The list is, of course, entirely personal and subjective.
Loapi android malware can destroy telephones
The cyber security company Kaspersky Labs has discovered a new and disturbing piece of malware that targets Android telephones: Loapi. Once in place, this malware has the processor work hard without the user being aware, which can even cause the telephone to overheat.
Laser shoes help Parkinson's patients walk
Shoes that project laser beams on the ground can help Parkinson's patients walk more easily. In a trial of 21 people, the number of 'freezes', in which people are suddenly unable to move forward, was reduced by half.
Robot zeppelin to explore secret chamber in pyramid
French researchers are working on a robot to inspect the secret chamber in the Pyramid of Khufu. The chamber was discovered last month with the aid of cosmic radiation. The robot is now set to study the pyramid without damaging it.
SpaceX launches completely reusable rocket
On Friday 15 December, SpaceX launched a reused rocket and space capsule together for the first time from Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida. The purpose of this mission is to restock the international space station.
Eindhoven to have a green residential tower
Next year will see the construction start of a green residential tower, designed by the Italian architect Stefano Broeri. The tower façade will be clad with 125 trees and 5200 shrubs and plants.
Elastic textile supplies electricity
Researchers in the United States have managed to create an elastic textile that generates electricity without batteries. Thanks to microorganisms in the textile, which convert sweat or tears into electricity, power-generating garments are a step closer.
New experiment makes hydrogen useable in cars
This week sees the start of a test to produce hydrogen stored as sodium borohydride. When dissolved in ultra pure water, that material is just as easily and safely tappable as conventional fuels. The so-called H2Fuel will certainly simplify the use of hydrogen as a source of energy for transport purposes.new
Eindhoven University opens long windtunnel
This week a new wind tunnel was opened at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), with an extraordinarily long test section. The test facility will be used for various purposes, ranging from the quest for the optimum formation of a cycling team, to measuring the mutual influence of wind turbines in large wind farms.
Crypto-Kitties are the new hype
It's becoming a hype among online gaming fans: CryptoKitties. This is the first popular game to operate on a blockchain platform. Players buy a virtual cat using the Ether cryptocurrency and can trade their cats or have them mate with other cats.
3-d reflector communicates with the internet without power
A new device can transmit digital information without any form of electronics. By reflecting Wi-Fi radio signals, it can return information to a router, which in turn translates it into an order or message. The mechanism does not require a power source and may therefore provide a solution for the Internet of Things.
Satellite confirms Einstein’s theory
Ultra-precise accelerometers in space show that two bodies of a different composition can be subject to the same gravitational pull. This confirms Einstein's equivalence principle.
Turnaround terminal for airports
This week, the Turnaround Terminal company presents a new concept for handling aeroplanes at airports. Instead of the usual pier with planes alongside, the turnaround terminal is a rotating docking station that transports a plane through several zones.
New 3D-printer is 10 times faster
A new design for a handy 3-D printer results in a 10 times faster printing speed. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was able to improve the existing printer design, so that spare parts or prototypes are ready within a few minutes, instead of an hour.
Soft artificial muscles for robots
Scientists and engineers from Harvard University and MIT have come up with a mechanism for equipping robots with soft artificial ‘muscles’. A frame – a sort of skeleton – in an inflatable bag offers the possibility of various movements, depending on the shape.
Hybrid electric aeroplane from European companies
Airbus, Siemens and Rolls-Royce are working on an aeroplane with electric motors. A prototype of the E-Fan X Hybrid is due to make its maiden test flight in 2020. By gradually replacing the jet engines of aircraft with electrical propulsion units, they hope to make flying more sustainable.
Metamaterial with a twist
While most elastic materials distort when under pressure, the metamaterial of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and others, twists. This unusual property is down to the special structure of this material.
Musicians should use earplugs
All the measures that professional musicians take to protect their hearing have very little point, explains acoustician Remy Wenmaekers in his doctoral research at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The only way to truly protect the hearing, is to wear earplugs permanently.
Communal battery for solar power in Rijsenhout
This week, Rijsenhout saw the launch of the communal battery. This battery collects the peak power load from the solar panels and enables trading on the electricity exchange
Increased light pollution due to energy-saving lamps
The transition to LED lighting saves less energy than expected. Due to increasing prosperity, people simply use more light, according to researchers at European and US universities.
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.
App gives patient access to medical scans
The myBody myData app, for smartphone or tablet, gives patients greater insight into the scans made of their body in hospital. The app was developed by a radiologist at UMC Utrecht, who moonlights as a software developer. The software is a response to the wishes expressed by many patients, to have access to their own medical scans.
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.