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.
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.