Walking into the stunning, historic, Binnenhof building, was already a great start for another inspiring TEDx event. The beautiful assorted breakfast buffet at the basement, only added sugar to the creative spice. The cherry on the top was the surprise guests: The royal Dutch prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima!
After the introduction by Deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen talking about the important balance between innovation & pragmatic compromise and local TEDx guru Jim Stolze, the day started with a bang with the ‘Catwalk for innovation’ – a catwalk representing the different sectors of the Dutch innovation society. From medicine to agriculture and sustainability, the Catwalk combined elegantly dressed models followed by dancers and avant-garde outfits – a mix of fashion, visuals, music, and dance, and a true eclectic multimedia spectacle…
Let the talks begin!
How to turn waste water into a goldmine / Charlotte van Erp Taalman Kip
Did you ever wonder what happens to your flushed WC water? Where you see flushed water, Charlotte sees fibres, fertilizers, energy, and a lot of fresh water. She think it’s odd that nobody sees it as her considering the shortage of all of these resources in third world countries, and the emerging shortage of resources in the western world.
In January 2012, the Raw Material Factory – a task force of 25 enthusiastic Dutch regional water board innovators – began transforming theory into practice. The required technology was developed, the challenges of running a viable business tackled and legislation adapted. They call it ‘sewage mining’; And currently looking at various ways to utilise this unusual resource – from extracting the cellulose out of toilet paper, to fertilisation, raw industrial materials and even use it to produce soda drinks bubbles.
The concept can be applied globally. But we need to connect scientists and industry. It’s a story of finding sustainable potential in places you, well, normally do not want to look into…
A robotic revolution for eye surgery / Maarten Beelen
Maarten Beelen, co-founder of Medical Robotic Technologies spoke about what an advantage it is for him to operate in the Netherlands – a global leader in complex high precision devices – since our eyes are one of the most specialized precision devices you have and any surgical intervention requires the same level of precision. Since one out of four diabetic patients have vision problems and the numbers of diabetic patients keeps increasing this practice is in an increasingly high demand. His solution of micro surgical robotic systems achieve higher precision and can handle more effective and safer procedures then man handled procedures. Not to mention these robots can contribute to the physical well being of the surgeons, easing their posture and visual strain while operating. Now is the time to open our eyes and minds towards accepting the advantages of robotic surgery, Maarten pleads! Don’t be afraid of the robot…
Birth of my dream: using interactive print for better education / Claire Boonstra
2009 was an amazing year for Claire, at that year she gave birth to her first born, but also to Layar - an industry-leading company at the forefront of augmented reality (AR). Using mobile phones as main platform. It took 3 years to bring the product to a place where it gives true value in everyday life. With Layar you can add value to the printed media. Claire gave a live demonstration of applying Layer creator and the Layar application to the TEDxBinnenhof program issue. “Tres” cool!
But where would she like to take the product next? Looking at her now 3 year old son and how he looks at technology and its integration in the current reality, Claire would like to use interactive print to improve kids’ education, bringing schools to life. Schools may not always have the resources – but every kid has a smart phone… So Claire believes it is possible to use mobile device accesibiliy in combination with augmented reality in order to improve the education system. Not only for her own kid, but everybody’s kids!
A portable water drill for the remotest areas / Floris de Vos
1 billion people around the world still are prevented from access to water; This alarming fact, in combination with global up and coming food shortage, pushed Floris to look for a sustainable, simple, solution. And he created all of that with his portable water drill. Thanks to the help of family, friends, and some sponsors, a year and a half later the Holland Water Goes Africa kicked off – in destination of Africa. With the first concept drill they managed to drilled 20 wells. The final result is Floflo – a compactly packed drill (weighing 70 kg rather then 500 kg), easily transported and allow entire communities, after a short training, to drill their water wells themselves. A sustainable, simple, perfect solution! Floflo is already active in 7 African countries, local boys and girls are trained to use the drill, there are even contemplating Floflo drill rentals is on the future for even better cost effectiveness. With merely 7 million euros 2000 Floflo drills can be sent to Africa, changing their, and our, future.
Working with the tides for clean energy / Allard van Hoeken
Allard van Hoeken always loved the ocean, and as head of Bluewater’s New Energy Division he heads the Bluetec project: A cost-effective, smart technology that turns tidal energy into electricity. It’s a powerful, reliable and untapped renewable resource – after all the tide never turns off. The original idea was to take a wind turbine (with each turbine can power 500 homes) and place them in the bottom of the sea, but it is technically almost impossible (whilst humans walked on the moon, no human walked on the bottom of the deepest ocean). The solution – suspend the turbine upside-down from the surface – this allows easy access, easy transport, lower cost, and zero pollution. Tidal energy may not be new but applying it to open waters is, and so creating sustainable floating turbines is a real challenge. Bluewater are trying to bring it to life by increasing efficiency and lowering the costs, and expect them to drop within 5-10 years. Harnessing natural resources is a great opportunity since nature does not pollute in the first place, the process will be indefinitely cheaper in the long run offers endless natural potential. A real tidal wave for the future of energy!
Farming green energy for cows and men / Hayo Canter Cremers
The farming industry is key in The Netherland but just like humans all animals need protein to nourish. That is the cause fro massive soy import, which is becoming a financial issue in Europe and ecological issue in South America – where the cultivation of soy comes on the expense of rainforest areas, This is a an ecological disaster on a global scale. Dr. Canter Cremers was looking for an alternative solution and found ‘Duckweed‘ – a small plant that floats on water (and the smallest farmed crop in the world!). It is a protein-rich, easy to grow crop and represents a perfect sustainable substitute for soy, A tiny crop that holds the power to create an environmental and social difference… wow! The Duckweed is now being grown in a new hectare-sized artificial pond and be ready to bring it to the market. Let the green cropping begin!
Breathomics: Nano solutions with major impact / Niki Fens
Did you know that 1/3 of the population has TB (Pulmonary tuberculosis)? A variety of lung diseases – from lung cancer to asthma are not treated efficiently due to poor prognosis. This leads to high mortality rates and economical issues.
Dr Niki Fens is a clinical researcher in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the UvA Academic Medical Center. Whilst visiting Bangladesh a coughing cab driver asked for her medical opinion regarding the possibility of him contracting TB. But with a several-weeks-long prognosis process, she obviously could not answer that. Dr. Fens started looking for a cheap and portable prognosis system and got inspired by drug sniffing electronic noses commonly used in airports.
A medical electronic nose was a great solution since our exhaled breath contains disease-altered-molecules and is a non invasive method of disease diagnosis. This technology is simple and allows a quick diagnosis, which helps in preventing disease spread and allows more efficient treatment. This technology will also allow easy access to patients and diagnostic staff. The technology’s concept studies are proven and it is in the phase of creating specialised medical use of the electronic nose bringing swift and cheap diagnosis. So exhale… the personal medical future is near.
Let’s change the way we look at fresh food and health / Rob Baan
Baan’s father is a very special person: he taught him first hand about nature. He followed this passion for nature in the seed industry, and realised how much farmers are connected with nature and how they are aware of what benefits the vegetables can bring us on a health level. Since the human genome changed in only 0.2% in 1 million years, following traditional vegetable therapy makes sense – same medical sense our ancestors had.
Obesity in the US has increased by 25% since 2000. This must stop. On top of that – we ignore our grandma’s knowledge and our doctors are actually toxicologists – curing you from existing diseases but are not concerned about prevention by actually making you healthier. As the current CEO of Koppert Cress, Rob promotes the practice of health usage of vegetables and plants. The irony is that he is not allowed to publicly claim true facts such as that broccoli is proven to be effective in cancer prevention and on the other hand he cannot fight the false claims of snacks and even vitamin supplements. He believes in the need of the Ministry of Food and Health to promote healthier nutrition and make the virtue vegetable therapy common knowledge.
Innovation as a Dutch experience / Daan Roosegaarde
As Daan woke up this morning, he recalled how he was so used to customise the world around him as a kid; whilst kids today mostly sit behind a computer screen.
The reason for that is that we live in a world that is shifting from the analogue to digital and changes the way we experience the world. But what happens when this technology jumps out of the computer screen and merges in the environment? In his studio he tries to examine exactly that.
Daan’s art projects use hundreds of interactive lights integrated in urban and natural landscape. His ‘intimacy 2.0’ is a textile that changes transparency in relation to the arousing of the wearer. Creating a new insights towards seduction and intimacy.
But art can turn into a practicle energy source: after harnessing the energy in dancing and transmitting it from the dance floor to a lighting installation, he thought about applying the sustainable technology to roads, harnessing the power of highway traffic. When one of the biggest road manufacturers in the EU contacted him, they contracted the first route 66 for the future. Daan gives it as an example of future innovation – finding new ways to bring together artists, scientist, investors and entrepreneurs to cover the gap between fantasy and science, between ideas and pragmatism. The innovation man should be half priest, half entrepreneur, ready to update reality…
Ideas should be acted upon!
Another great, inspiring day is done; But as event host Pep Rosenfeld said – “if an idea is not listed to in the woods – has it ever lived?” So if you did not had the chance to attend this inspiring day – talks are now available online!