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This week, ASML and TSMC insiders revealed that companies can remotely turn off their chip machines. Also, the TU/e Campus is teeming with promising tech startups in the ALPHA building, a breakthrough in the treatment of paraplegic patients; the Netherlands must get rid of the Calimero complex around sustainability; what does the new coalition agreement mean for the innovation community. ONWARD Medical has achieved a breakthrough in treating patients with partial spinal cord injury using electrical stimulation.

1. ASML and TSMC: remote control chipmachines 

ASML and TSMC have announced that they are ready to take out their advanced chip machines if China invades Taiwan. This move highlights Taiwan’s crucial role in producing advanced chips, as the island is responsible for about 90% of global production. A Chinese invasion would not only cause global shortages but also economic chaos. The Dutch government is currently banning the sale of ASML’s EUV machines to China, highlighting the strategic importance of this technology.

2. Innovation on the TU/e Campus: ALPHA day

On the TU/e Campus, young tech startups presented their innovations during the annual ALPHA Day. UPyTher unveiled a special fluid that can release chemogel locally. Solarbrixs showed vertical solar panels, and Luxisens introduced a mattress with a pressure-sensing system that measures breathing and heart rate without tubing or sticky sensors. ALPHA offers young companies office space at low prices and supports them with programs and workshops. Laurens van de Laar of Typeware presented a portable keyboard that allows users to type or scroll while walking, and Francesco Pagliano of nanoPHAB demonstrated light-based photonics devices.

3. Sustainability: The Netherlands must show ambition

Frank van der Hoeven of TU Delft calls on the Netherlands to move away from the Calimero complex around sustainability. Despite the Netherlands’ small size in the global economy, the country can have a big impact. Van der Hoeven emphasizes that climate adaptation is essential for adapting to the changing climate, especially in the built environment. Green urban areas are crucial for water retention and cooling. He points out that climate adaptation cannot be separated from climate mitigation and advocates using circular and sustainable materials in construction.

4. New coalition: ambitions for economic growth

The new coalition agreement ‘Hope, guts and pride’ of PVV, VVD, NSC, and BBB focuses on economic growth and a better business climate. Key points include tax cuts and making the Netherlands more attractive to businesses. The coalition proposes simplifying and reforming the tax system, with plans such as phasing out the self-employment deduction and raising the minimum wage by 7.5%. It also allocates €35 billion for a climate and transition fund. The coalition also promises to increase defense spending to 2% of the NATO norm.

5. ONWARD Medical: a breakthrough in the treatment of spinal cord injury

ONWARD Medical has made a breakthrough with a new therapy that uses electrical stimulation to improve hand and arm functions in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury. In a study with 60 participants, 72% showed significant improvements without serious side effects. Arc-Ex Therapy uses non-invasive electrical stimulation over the cervical spinal cord, improving arms and hands’ functionality. This therapy highlights the potential of electrical stimulation to significantly improve patients’ quality of life with tetraplegia.