‘Cars for the free people’

In the European metropolises of 2025, the concept of cars will have changed drastically, according to Erik Kieskamp (26). Cars of the future will travel through cities picking up and dropping off people. “They’ll be the red blood cells of our cities.”

You just pulled over in a neighborhood that is new to you and are wondering where to find a nice café. You glance at your windshield and sigh with relief: thanks to augmented reality, you know that you can get a good cafe latte just around the corner. Where would you be without your intelligent windscreen?

This is the kind of daily life situation described by Erik Kieskamp in his Master’s thesis, ‘The design of a people transporter for the European metropolis of 2025’, which he defended last week at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. The thesis was part his internship at the prestigious Italian design firm, Pininfarina.

Cities will become more congested, making personal vehicle possession more difficult, the young designer believes. Instead of owning a car, many more people than nowadays will pay subscriptions to an organization and share vehicles.

These cars will be driving computers with augmented reality functions, informing you of your surroundings, but they will also act as meeting platforms for bringing together people who have the same interests or are simply heading in the same direction. Kieskamp: “The target group is the kind of people with a ‘free mindset’, who want to meet new people, don’t want to possess a car personally, and want transport on demand.”

Kieskamp can’t be any more specific about his users. “Real target groups don’t exist anymore,” he asserts. “Steve Jobs understood this well. Take the iPad for instance. You can’t tell whether someone who owns one likes classical music or not, or is a football fan. What’s happening is that people are sampling. They use products that can help them accentuate their own identity. The shared vehicles will do just that.”

The shared vehicle’s bodywork looks a lot like a Smartcar. “I hear that a lot,” Kieskamp says. “This is basically the shape you get when you make a small car consisting of two rows of seats.” 

A study conducted at Holland’s Wageningen University suggests that Wi-Fi radiation is causing strange abnormalities in trees. The Dutch town of Alphen aan den Rijn commissioned this study five years ago in an effort to figure out why the city’s trees were developing odd growths, according to a report published in PC World. The Wageningen researcher who conducted the study found that today 70 percent of trees in urban areas had similar symptoms, while only 10 percent did five years ago. It’s thought Wi-Fi is to blame. During the study, 20 ash trees were exposed to various radiation sources for three months. Trees placed closest to the Wi-Fi demonstrated a “lead-like shine” on their leaves, which eventually resulted in parts of the leaves dying. The study also found Wi-Fi radiation inhibited the growth of corn cobs. Following intense media interest in the study, the researcher has since backtracked from his findings, stating they are only initial results and no conclusions should be drawn.

Baby tycoon
This week TU Delft techno-starter Icy Solutions won the Baby Tycoon Award, an incentive prize for promising young companies in Haaglanden. IcySolutions, founded by recent TU Delft graduates Tarek Ghobar and Hicham Shatou, is supported by YesDelft, the university’s entrepreneurial center. The young company has developed a recuperative ice-bath therapy system increasingly favored by professional sports teams and athletes, including Tour de France cyclists.

New dean
Professor Wytze Patijn, dean of the Architecture faculty, is stepping down. He will be replaced by Karin Laglas (1959) as the new faculty dean, as of 1 January 2011. Laglas worked in real estate and investments for the past 25 years, serving as director at various real estate development and investment companies. Laglas will become the first female dean of a TU Delft faculty since the introduction of the Law on Modernization of University Governance in 1997.

Numerus fixus
TU Delft is proposing to introduce a numerus fixus (cap on student intake) for the first-year BSc programmes in Architecture and Industrial Design Engineering, as of 2011-2012 academic year. The faculty of Aerospace Engineering is also considering the numerus fixus option for 2011, but has postponed the decision for a year and plans to start selecting students from 2012 onwards in an attempt to restrict enrollment numbers.   

The best
Every year the ‘Best graduates’ in each of TU Delft’s faculties are awarded prizes. This year the prizes will be awarded on Thursday 25 November at TU Delft’s Aula Congress Centre. The best graduates each give a short presentation on their research. Prizes for the university’s best teachers will also be awarded during this ceremony. This year seven faculties have nominated their best teacher, based on the results of elections staged by their various study associations.

Shots fired
Delft police still have no clues as to who was behind a shooting on the Brabantse Turfmarkt on November 3. Two people were wounded in the attack. The victims were shot with an airgun, sustaining only minor injuries. Investigators created a three-dimensional scan of the crime scene, hoping to determine from which direction the shots were fired. The police however still have no solid leads and are asking for any eyewitnesses to come forward.

Five TU Delft researchers have each been awarded a Vidi grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The grants are worth a maximum of 800,000 euro and are used to develop a line of research and appoint one or more researchers. The Delft Vidi winners are: Professor Joris Dik(3mE); Dr Pieter DeSmet (IDE); Dr Martijn Wisse (3mE); Dr Jantien Stoter (OTB); and Dr Leonardo DiCarlo.

Editor Redactie

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