Short News Science

Intimate technology
Have you ever felt embarrassed by technology? By a navigator that outsmarted you, or a telemarketer who knew a little too much about you? This is your chance to create intimate, embarrassing and scary technology for a design competition organised by the Rathenau Institute and NRC-next newspaper.

They want you to send in a design on A3-format or a working prototype and a 200-word text before 18 July. Check website for addresses and more info (in Dutch).


Vertical garden

Integrated plants may make the walls of new and existing buildings more sustainable, says Dr Marc Ottelé, who defended his thesis last Tuesday. Among the environmental virtues are absorption from CO2 and fine dust particles from the urban air. The thermal insulation also improves, partly because the plants reduce the wind speed. No word however on vertical gardening.

Marc Ottelé, The green building envelope: vertical greening, 28 June 2011, PhD supervisor Prof. Michiel Haas (CEG)

Magnetic cooling

BASF supports research into new magnetocaloric materials at Applied Sciences with a 2.4 million euros grant. Magnetocaloric materials heat up in a magnetic field and cool when the field is switched off. It’s a promising technology for fridges and heat pumps. But it requires strong and expensive magnets. BASF is now looking for materials that are magnetocaloric at a magnetic field weaker than 1 Tesla. Professor Ekkes Bruck has set up a five-year research programme with 5 PhDss, 2 postdocs and a technician.


Researchers have led the basis for what they believe will be the next generation of leds. Nanostructured leds, as they are called, will allow a better control over the direction of light emission and hence a better efficiency. Researchers of the TU (Professor Paul Urbach, Applied Sciences) worked together with FOM-institute Amolf, TU Eindhoven and Philips research. They developed a pattern of partly emitting nanowires grown from semiconductor material. The results are to be published in the journal ACS Nano. 

Tender grip

Ever seen a robot picking paprikas? Most robot hands would damage the tender fruit, but not the tender robot hand developed by Dr Gert Kragten, who defended his thesis last Tuesday. Kragten’s robot hand is clearly inspired by the human hand: it has hinged segments (like the bones in your fingers) that are activated by motors connected with strings (like tendons in humans). The result is a hand that carefully wraps around things instead of squeezing them.

Het optreden van het Britse stuntteam Aerostars met vier Yak-50 toestellen was het hoogtepunt van de VSV Seppe Airshow die vliegtuigbouwkundige studievereniging Leonardo da Vinci (Luchtvaart- en Ruimtevaarttechniek) afgelopen zaterdag had georganiseerd. Het evenement trok rond de vijfduizend bezoekers. De jubilerende studievereniging (65 jaar) wil in samenwerking met Seppe Airport twee maal per vijf jaar een vliegshow organiseren.

Redacteur Redactie

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