”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.
Qwiek – a sensation in senior housing
Most senior housing complexes are not exactly known for their inspiring environments nor their innovative highlights. Admittedly, there are innovations, although these have more to do with the health of elderly residents when something goes wrong. After treatment with the help of hi-tech equipment, many of them will go on living monotonous lives in their cheerless rooms with few visits from their family members.
At Qwiek they thought differently about this, since the surroundings in which seniors spend the autumn of their lives could use some music and color. The team developed a pillow that makes music so that the clients are better able to sleep, and have already come up with an easy-to-use projector which is able to transform every dusty room into a multimedia adventure. The greatest challenge? Making this product as simple as possible so that everyone will be able to use it, including your computer illiterate grandmother.
Artifictial Ecosystems – Smart moss walls
Nowadays an average living room is full of houseplants. And for those of you who want even more – but have hardly any gardening skills – you could choose to cover your exterior wall with a meter-high layer of moss. The vertical gardens from the gentlemen at Artificial Ecosystems are greening up facades and roofs. Green fingers are no longer necessary because the ecosystem is able to maintains itself with rainwater and an internet connection.
No, it is not a hyper-intelligent plant species that uses the Internet for private purposes, because the moss wall is in fact connected to a software program that takes care of the maintenance. The difference when compared to other vertical gardens, is that BryoSYSTEEM moss has been specifically developed to thrive on an exterior wall. Competitive systems use species that originally ‘just’ grew in the forest, subsequently maintenance is much more difficult for those species of moss.
3DQR – Augmented Reality finally grows up?
It is common knowledge that augmented reality can trigger a lot of innovations. The problem, however, is that anyone who wants to get started with this will have to reinvent the wheel. Do you remember those incredibly lame HTML websites back in the 1990s? They didn’t look natural and were only accessible to real nerds. 3DQR is in this phase right now, according to Daniel Anderson, the founder of 3DQR, and so he thinks it could all be a lot more streamlined.
By providing a content management system (CMS), AR will become more accessible to more people as well as making it easier to create apps. The ‘difficult’ steps can be left to the automated system so that the designer’s ideas are able to be realized, regardless of any lack of of technical know-how. Not technical – and yet want to create a virtual world that will improve the world a little more? Using 3DQDR brings this dream closer by.
The possibilities are endless; positioning virtual furniture in living rooms, visualizing how devices are operated, and naturally, being able to go on a virtual holiday to a distant galaxy.
CoVince – Netflix for e-Learning
Lifelong learning is a bit of a cliché, but some clichés are also just simply true. Technological progress is accelerating faster than ever before. And doing the same job with the same level of expertise for 40 years is no longer the case for most people. How are you able to update that expertise? The team behind the Dutch start-up CoVince says that this can be done in a Netflix-like way: you decide exactly what you want to learn from what’s available in a large library and off you go.
It is no longer necessary to go to an actual school building thanks to a combination of AR, gaming, an online community with teachers and fellow students, and an avatar that has been generated especially for you. All this can provide everyone with new and useful knowledge from the comfort of their own home. You could compare it to a kind of smarter educational version of Second Life that hopefully has a slightly less miserable ending. In any case, CoVince inspires great confidence and everything looks very futuristic and impressive in the videos.
Munevo DRIVE – Hands-free wheelchair mobility
Nobody sits in a wheelchair just for fun. Mastering it takes some practice and the user is unable to use their hands freely while on the move with a conventional wheelchair. But there is another way: a team from the University of Munich has launched an app that makes it possible to operate a wheelchair using head movements and smart glasses.
Who knows best how a wheelchair works? These are generally the users themselves. Munevo DRIVE was therefore created with these experiences in mind so that the system accurately addresses the sore points that they encounter. And the concept phase is definitely over: health insurers have recently reimbursed Munevo DRIVE, rendering the obstacles that surrounded a futuristic wheelchair experience a thing of the past. Users are delighted with it.
And that is not surprising; you will only realize how important mobility is when you yourself need the equipment to get from A to B. In this respect, Munevo DRIVE opens doors for a vulnerable group and demonstrably makes their lives a little more wonderful. And that thanks to Google Glass, a product that was laughed at a few years ago because back then it had no added value to everyday life. The latter is the reason why we have selected the team for the start-up of the week award!