”Your sneak preview of the future” is the slogan of Innovation Origins, and that’s just what we will highlight with our Start-up of the Week column. Over the past few days, five start-ups of the day have been featured and on Saturday we will choose the week’s winner.
We shall consider various issues such as sustainability, developmental phase, practical application, simplicity, originality and to what extent they are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of UNESCO. They will all pass by here and at the end of the week, the Start-Up of the Week will be announced.
Alphabeats – Music to unwind to!
That music has a major influence on your state of mind is beyond dispute. It can motivate you while exercising, but it can also be a source of relaxation. How do we actually know exactly what kind of music has a stimulating or relaxing effect on our brains? This is still a bit of a guessing game what with all the innumerable styles and genres. The self-learning technology from Alphabeats is able to match your brain activity and heartbeat with your music list. Alphabeats is based in the Netherlands and works in collaboration with Philips.
The program automatically picks out music that will help put the listener in a good mood. Alphabeat should mainly provide a little relaxation in times when stress is lurking all over the place. The world around us offers more stimuli than ever before. And this also has an impact on the levels of cortisol in our brains. By using an app on the smartphone, the auditory frequencies of music are automatically adjusted in order to enable the brain to relax more effectively.
Kindow – Smart sunshades
On average, people sit indoors 90 % of the time despite the fact that we do need daylight. Moreover, our biological clock is set for a tropical climate with plenty of sunshine. And this means that en masse, we are actually missing out on a lot of daylight. And if you’re working in a stuffy office under bleak fluorescent lighting … well, that’s just asking for trouble.
The Dutch team behind Kindow has designed vertical blinds and roller blinds that automatically adjust to the ideal amount of daylight in the workplace. This should improve productivity and well-being. Even during hot summer days, they do their work by closing down fully automatically. This flexible sun protection also saves on electricity, heating and air conditioning costs. Thanks to Kindow, the office garden and its users are assured of optimal lighting at all times. Watering is the only thing that still has to be done manually.
Solabolic – From a desert to a solar power station?
Over the past decade, solar energy has become increasingly affordable. And despite the rising temperatures, Europe is still more or less coping considering the amount of sunlight it gets. A gigantic solar park in the Sahara might be an excellent idea on paper. But this is easier said than done. The Austrian company Solabolic designed a whole new construction method that facilitates solar energy in markets where the expertise in this field is less abundant.
Solabolic’s cells work like a kind of suspension bridge that automatically takes on curved forms. As a result, the underlying surface no longer makes any difference. This results in a more flexible construction that is vandal proof, doesn’t require any prior know-how and, moreover, can become substantially larger in size than those of competitors.
Carrypicker – Turns transport into top-class sport
Go ahead and try dealing with it. Create order among the chaos of all Europe’s decentralized freight traffic. This is what Carrypicker’s artificial intelligence does for us. And this is desperately needed. As at the moment, the logistics of freight traffic can’t be described as efficient at all. On German roads, no less than 30% of the freight capacity available in transport is not being used. What a waste. The reason? There is hardly any coordination.
Carrypicker wants to smarten up the conservative, analogue transport sector. The centralized approach of Carrypicker’s AI software matches routes with loads. This way multiple loads may be combined in a single wagon. Also, a full load on both the outbound and return trip can be arranged and it can even combine the routes of several companies. The advantages are obvious: less congestion on the road, less greenhouse gas emissions, lower personnel costs and greater profits for the transport companies. However, this approach is likely to have a negative impact on pizza sales from roadside restaurants.
Natural Machines – Toss your leftovers into a 3D printer
A food processor where you add your ingredients and automatically mix them into a fine meal within the space of three minutes. That sounds like science fiction, but at Innovation Origins you often read about things that turn out not only to be science but non-fiction as well. The Spanish start-up Natural Machines came up with a new application for 3D printing technology within the home kitchen. Their Foodini food processor can turn any home into a miniature food factory.
You just type in exactly what you want to eat onto the app. Then put the ingredients in a cartridge and the machine does the rest. As a result, remembering recipes or ‘eating whatever’s left over’ will be something for the history books. Today’s ‘Foodini Creator’ has an extensive menu library offering both hot and cold dishes for any time of the day. At the moment, these still have to be brought into production. But the second generation of this equipment will not only print meals, but should also start cooking and baking as well. Maybe the kitchen stove will also soon be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find out whether the food processor can put the same love into food as your mother or grandmother. But the editor on duty warmly welcomes the opportunity to test a Foodini appliance (€4000). Solely for review purposes, of course.
The ultimate goal of this start-up is to produce fresh and healthy food in no time at all and to stop wasting food. CNN has already dubbed Lynette Kucsma a superhero. And at IO, we’ve also become enthusiastic about the Catalan entrepreneur’s vision. That’s why her company has been named this week’s Start-up of the Week!
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