”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.
Sound Energy – Farewell to airco?
Ironically, traditional air conditioners contribute to CO2 emissions because of their low energy efficiency. This then results in more global warming. But there is another way, the Enschede start-up Sound Energy has developed a technology whereby a combination of heat and sound produces cool air. And the beauty in that? There are no moving parts or electricity so you could not get any more sustainable than that.
Thermal-acoustic technology is not new, but Sound Energy’s founding father was inspired by the potential of this method, which makes use of argon, a clean gas. At the moment, the technology is only available for large business premises, although there are plans to also design smaller models for residential properties. Nonetheless, the systems still need to be made a lot more compact for this, as the current models are larger than an average student’s room in Amsterdam.
Phyktoprove – No more dead houseplants
Some people have green fingers and seem to be able to talk to their plants, each of which looks enviably beautiful. Most people don’t have this gift and just fiddle around with their houseplants. The result? Off to the local garden center every few months because your house plants have died from a lack of water, too much water, too much plant food, no plant food, too much light, too little light or the lost battle against the cat that saw the plant as a midday snack, a scratching post or a cat litter box.
However, plants never die just like that, there is always a specific reason why this happens. By using the monitoring system linked to an app on your smartphone, Phyktoprove allows you to see at a glance where the problems are. Handy! And the good thing about it? This technology is not only a solution for your living room plants but can be used everywhere when it comes to plant management. From arable farming to the back garden to an orchard or even a Bonsai!
Bound4blue – Sail on cargo ships!
There is no denying it; container ships are essential for getting things from A to B in the world and are therefore a fundamental part of global trade. Nevertheless, the problem is that these ships are propelled by oil, and that is not exactly beneficial to the climate. Yet for centuries humankind has relied on climate-neutral winds as a means of propelling ships forward, so why don’t we have sails for cargo ships?
Admittedly, the sails of the Spanish start-up Bound4blue do not completely make the use of oil superfluous, although they do reduce maritime transport emissions by an average of 30 percent. The system is fully automatic, eliminating the need for any extra crew and is so compact that it does not affect the storage capacity. Ideal when it comes to keeping your conscience clear when your impulse purchases from AliExpress are delivered to your home.
Dignio – Homed in on home care
There are more and more older people. Over the next few decades all the baby boomers will turn into seniors and this will demand a lot from the health care system. The older a person gets, the more illnesses they are likely to get. In order to keep this somewhat under control, a hospital visit should only take place when there is an urgent situation. The Norwegian start-up Dignio allows doctors to monitor their patients remotely.
This platform should offer a solution, especially for the chronically ill. These are people with conditions such as COPD, diabetes, hypertension, chronic heart failure and cancer. When it comes to the requisite medical data readings, a costly hospital visit will be a thing of the past. The patient also feels more involved with their treatment because of the interactive nature of the treatment. Working from home is a trend that has been on the rise for some time now, but if it’s up to the Norwegians, the healthcare sector will also be following this trend.
You Mawo – Custom Frames
A pair of glasses is actually no more than a piece of plastic and some prescription lenses. Well, why does such a thing cost an optician a few hundred euros? The eye wear market is dominated by a large operator known as Luxottica, although this name is unknown to many. They own virtually all eye wear brands, optician chains and lens manufacturers. The company is often accused of monopolistic behaviour, yet the solution to these very expensive frames may well come from the very same country as the eye wear giant.
The German start-up You Mawo aims to create custom-made frames for everyone for a great price. 3D printers are becoming cheaper and cheaper and this would enable them to make plastic items as well. Furthermore, they are made to measure and match each specific face shape. They want to start a revolution inside a very conservative market where huge major players are in charge.
And they have our blessing. This idea of customization and the application of 3D printing technology is something we have never seen before. And in times when increasingly more people are becoming short-sighted and consider themselves more than ever as as individuals, while all the while their income is on the decrease. For these reasons, it seems as if there is a brilliant future ahead for these gentlemen.