Use technology for the greater good of mankind. That’s the rule product designer Alec Momont lives by. Momont recently made international headlines for his defibrillator-fitted ambulance drones that can substantially increase the chances of a person’s survival after a cardiac arrest. The design was made as part of Momont’s thesis project during his MSc at TU Delft. He scored a perfect 10 for it.
Empathy, believes Mileha Soneji, is the key to any great innovation. On November 28, Soneji won the TEDxDelft Award, an event organized in association with YES! Delft Students, and will now be one of the speakers at TEDxDelft on February 27, 2015. Her talk will focus on the Staircase Solution – a simple design that makes life easier for those suffering with Parkinson’s Disease.
In 2007, while studying Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Suzanne Ma caught the trail of a story that would fascinate her for years – the lives of Chinese immigrants as newcomers in Europe. The Chinese-Canadian author and journalist, one of the speakers at TEDxDelft 2015, follows this trail in her new book Meet Me in Venice.
The human mind cannot be trusted. This is what many years of research have taught neuroscientist Roeland Dietvorst. With a background in biological and cognitive psychology and a PhD in Applied Neuroscience from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dietvorst tries to better understand and predict how consumers respond to various marketing stimuli and products.
A person’s childhood is as fragile as it is precious. Everyday, millions of children around the world are forced to deal with the realities of life, thrown into situations they neither asked for nor deserve. In most societies, these children often remain invisible, while the issues they face are considerably neglected. For Dutch social activist, author and online strategist Jojanneke van den Bosch, raising awareness of the plight of this group of children has become a personal calling, especially since their life-altering experiences are similar to her own.
“Math is an important element of human culture,” says Dr. Gerardo Soto y Koelemeijer. Culture and math may sound like a collision of worlds, but Koelemeijer believes they complement each other.
And he would know. Having completed his PhD in mathematics at TU Delft, he also studied literature and cultural studies. A published author of historical fiction, he is now working on a book with stories about math and is also researching another historical subject. All this alongside his day job as a math teacher at a secondary school in Haarlem.
Change and creativity go hand in hand for Kor van Velzen. An artist, advertiser, songwriter and once-upon-a-time a priest, Van Velzen has worn many caps, and with each new one he discovered a new aspect of himself.
Van Velzen believes that a new perspective can often help make sense of difficult times. “Sometimes, when you feel unhappy in a situation, simply changing the way you look at things can really make a difference. At one point I was a creative director at an ad agency and I found that being responsible was really interfering with my creative process. We often had to give in to clients and go against our ideas. That caused a lot of conflict in me. I finally moved on and now work with smaller clients with an agency in Delft. I feel that I am now better than I have ever been,” he says.
During a lecture earlier this year, one of Andy Zaidman’s students stood up in class and asked him a frustrating question: “Why do I need to test my program? If I get a correct result, that means my program works. Why waste time testing?”
That, for Zaidman, is the biggest problem with the mindset to software design today. People do not test their programs beyond a superficial result.
Modern technologies allow for new ways to look at conventional systems. Whether it is to help children learn in school or to rebuild an ageing Operating System (OS), Puck Meerburg sees only possibilities in what new technologies have to offer.
“When I first started programming, I used PHP to build simple websites,” says Meerburg. “At the time, I was five years old.” By the age of ten, Meerburg had already gone on to develop applications for the iPhone. “It wasn’t something that came gradually,” the fifteen year old explains. “I just said to myself, ‘this is something I want to do.’” Since then, the programming prodigy has developed ten applications for multiple OS, which combined have been downloaded over 300,000 times since they were first launched.
It’s a bizarre idea but maybe one day, objects will be able to design objects. That’s the sincere belief of Elisa Giaccardi, Professor of Interactive Media Design at TU Delft’s Department of Industrial Design.
Currently, design and manufacturing processes are centred around factors such as cost-effectiveness and optimal design – so is that wrong? “No,” says Giaccardi, “it’s just that these days, there are more opportunities to design products that are more radically innovative.”
Turn down the central heating and you’ll not only reduce the fuel bill, you’ll lose weight. That’s the extraordinary message behind Patrick Rensen’s talk at the upcoming TEDxDelft event.
As a Professor of Endocrinology at Leiden University Medical Center, Rensen studies the role of sugar and fat metabolism in diabetes and heart disease. In particular, Rensen is investigating something called ‘brown fat’ which is different from the all too familiar ‘white fat’ that tends to collect around our middles. “We know that babies are born with brown fat,” says Rensen, “but we thought it disappeared after a few years.”
There is a Chinese dream whereby education is the key to secure one’s brighter future. Shou-En Zhu was one of the millions of Chinese taking part in the rural-urban migration in order to receive this good education.
Having grown up in a small, rural village in China, Zhu was sent to a good primary school in Fuzhou city, the capital of Fujian Province by his father, who strongly subscribed to the Chinese dream. When asked of his inspiration as a child, he described his former self as “not having too much plan”. That, however, changed during his Bachelor years when he was acquainted with the prospect of a game-changing material: graphene.
In an online profile, Peter Mooij says he has millions of algae as pets. His favorite color is algae green and he believes that understanding algae might just be the answer to everything.
An environmental biotechnology researcher at TU Delft, Mooij has been studying the phenomena of algae for quite a while. In 2013, he wrote about how algae can be ‘interesting candidates for the large-scale production of biodiesel’.
Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places. While most chefs turn to seasonal or unusual ingredients to devise a delectable dish, culinary creative Yuri Verbeek looks to his surroundings and everyday experiences to create extraordinary cuisine. As head chef and owner of Delft culinary studio De Kokkerie, Verbeek believes that simple things can lead to surprising dishes.
“I create dishes in a special way,” says the award-winning chef. “I look further than the dish to try to surprise people.” Whether it is an ingredient, utensil or personal encounter, there are no holds barred for Verbeek when it comes to finding inspiration. “When I create something, I walk by IKEA. I walk by garden centers and see what they have there. And I like to play with those kind of materials with my dishes.”
“If you want something done, ask a busy person.” This pearl of wisdom describes Edward Valstar to a T. Valstar is a professor at the Department of Orthopaedics of the Leiden University Medical Center. He is also an Antonie van Leeuwenhoek professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at TU Delft and this double appointment makes him one of a select company of Medical Delta professors. On top of that, Valstar is an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Yet, he still manages to find time to step on the TEDxDelft podium this month and with great enthusiasm too. “TEDxDelft is a great format to reach a wide audience,” he says. “After all, as academics we tend to talk a lot to each other at conferences and such.”
Television and radio presenter, talk show host, author, journalist, columnist and VJ; Zarayda Groenhart has done it all. Dutch television viewers know her from shows such as Try Before You Die, where she performed feats of daring, including being walked on by an elephant, working as a cycle courier in New York and getting her body painted. It was her audacity that got her into television in the first place.
In 2005, she read that a new MTV channel The Box was looking for young talent. Groenhart then took to the streets to interview young people and developed a programme idea. She then kept on emailing the management until she got invited for a job interview. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“To give every participant a new form of energy” is Patrick Tromp’s exuberant response, when asked what motivates Drum Cafe. Founded in Johannesburg in 1996 by Warren Lieberman, Drum Cafe is one of the world’s leading interactive team building, conferencing and corporate events companies. Building teams, one beat at a time – this is what the group aims to achieve during their performance at the upcoming TEDxDelft event.
Playing everything from Classical to Swing or Ceremonial to Blues, Delft Brass is a young, enthusiastic seven-piece brass ensemble from Delft with a great passion for music. The troupe is set to grace the stage at the upcoming TEDxDelft event on February 27, 2015 for a truly unforgettable performance. The ensemble was formed in 2013 when tuba player Brenda Hooiveld and her close brass playing friends at the Koninklijke Harmoniekapel Delft (Royal Wind Orchestra Delft) decided to form a new group because, according to Hooiveld, “brass are the nicest instruments.”
Originally from Breda, Hilda Ruijs is a student at the Delft University of Technology, currently pursuing a degree in Industrial Design Engineering. Her biggest hobby, however, is playing and composing her own music. As a matter of fact, the singer-songwriter was recently selected as a finalist for the BN DeStem Culture Award.
Ruijs started playing the violin when she was only eight years old and soon advanced to writing her own lyrics at age twelve. Moreover, she received a guitar when she was 15 and also started to play the piano. “I always liked creative things such as museums, drawing and of course, music,” Ruijs says. “This is also what eventually led me to pursue a degree in Industrial Design Engineering, as the creative part of the curriculum is very important to me.”