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Stories of Tesla

Stories of Tesla #7: The Wooden Century

May 29, 2020

The last project to be featured is “The Wooden Century” for TNO.

Construction materials currently used in the Dutch construction branch, such as concrete and steel, could use some rethinking, due to the increasing housing shortage and their significant contribution to the global carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen emission. Our client, TNO, wonders whether wood-based constructions could be a feasible alternative to counter these problems, as wood is strong, stores CO2 and is relatively light. This project, therefore, aims to find out if the upscaling of a wood construction method could be feasible to meet the housing demand in the Netherlands, within the environmental agreements.

In order to answer this question for TNO, we will subdivide this project into three phases. Firstly, we will analyze wood construction methods by comparing them to concrete and steel construction, after which we will research what type of wood construction methods there are and which one is the most promising. Secondly, we will investigate the feasibility of the implementation of this wood construction method in the Netherlands. Thirdly, we will come up with a strategy for this implementation.

We aim to deliver the best wood construction method which could aid in solving the current issues of the construction branch (1). This will be based on a comparison of wood construction in general to concrete and steel construction and an overview of existing wood construction methods. Subsequently, we aim to deliver an overview of implementation requirements (2) and an effectiveness/feasibility analysis which can be used as advice for an implementation strategy (3).

We hope that our final report and advise on an implementation strategy in the Netherlands on the most feasible wood construction will be taken into account in the direction TNO will take regarding giving advice on building with wood to other organizations and companies. We hope that the wooden century starts with TNO.

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Stories of Tesla #6: Better acute care. AI powered.

May 25, 2020

The sixth project titled “Better acute care. AI powered.” is for a Dutch based AI start-up Nico.lab.

Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) within health care are booming. Our client Nico.lab has developed StrokeViewer, an AI-based clinical decision support system with the trademark of “Better stroke care. AI powered.” StrokeViewer is capable of offering a complete assessment of relevant imaging biomarkers in less than three minutes, supporting radiologists in their decision-making process when diagnosing stroke. Now that StrokeViewer has been implemented in ten hospitals in the Netherlands, Nico.lab is looking to expand business in terms of product within the acute care setting.

The goal of our project is to investigate how AI can improve patients’ lives and enhance clinical workflows within the acute care sector where every second counts. Therefore, our research question is “What acute disease conditions would be interesting for Nico.lab to expand their business into by using artificial intelligence to improve speed and accuracy of diagnostic processes based on imaging?”. Our advice will be directed towards our client, who has the expertise and knowledge to put AI into practice in the hospital to improve healthcare. 

By investigating different acute disease conditions, such as myocardial infarction and pneumonia, and performing market research of current AI applications, we aim to identify one acute disease case that might benefit the most from such technologies. Besides the potential development of a new AI product, this expansion into new acute care areas also suggests a renewed trademark for Nico.lab: “Better acute care. AI powered.” 

For more questions you can contact us at acutecare.aipowered@gmail.com

 

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Stories of Tesla #5: Platform CB’23

May 20, 2020

Year-on-year the world’s global resources are being depleted faster and faster. Last year, Earth Overshoot Day, the day on which our consumption of natural resources surpasses the Earth’s ability to regenerate them, was the earliest on record: 29th of July. While global resource consumption continues to grow, only 9% of resources are reused. 

To combat this, the Dutch Government has set a goal to reduce the consumption of primary resources by 50% by 2030, and to have a circular economy by 2050. To reach these goals, the Dutch Government is targeting the largest contributor to consumption and waste: the construction sector. The construction industry uses half of all the resources in the Netherlands. On top of that, a quarter of the output goes to waste compared to only 11% from other industries.

Our client, Platform Circular Building ’23, is a consortium of experts within the construction industry that are developing a method for the standardisation of circular construction. They are developing, in tandem, a circularity measurement method and a materials passport system which will help by providing standard definitions of circularity and a system to collect information about the circularity of materials.

We are helping our client by performing a case study using their circularity measurement method and materials passports on actual building designs set for construction at the Amsterdam Science Park campus. At the moment we are performing Life Cycle Analyses on different components of these buildings to test the method on a smaller scale before attempting to calculate the circularity of the entire building design.

In the end, we would like to deliver feedback on our own use of the method and materials passport system and synthesize suggestions for their improvement based on what we found challenging and the comments of various stakeholders within the construction industry.

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Stories of Tesla #4: An Impactful DJI

May 15, 2020

The fourth project “An Impactful DJI” is for the Custodial Institutions Agency – Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen (DJI).

In recent years, the global focus on climate change has increased, leading to agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement. These agreements have sparked movement in The Dutch government and they have developed their own plan of meeting the different sustainability goals, such as a reduction of 50% of raw materials used before 2030. Departments of each ministry within the government have to contribute to reach this goal. The Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen (DJI) is a department within the Ministry of Justice and Security and its function is the enforcement of sentences and custodial measures issued by the Dutch court.

Next year, the DJI faces a contract renewal for their consumer electronics (bruin- en witgoed), think of clock radios, refrigerators, microwaves, headphones etc. With around 10.000 detainees being held at any given moment, this is a huge contract that directly involves detainees and prison personnel and various other DJI employees. Therefore, the DJI wants to seize the opportunity of a new contract to make improvements in multiple aspects. Not only to reflect the current sustainability focus of the Dutch government, but also to increase detainee involvement, and to better incorporate the need from both detainees and employees.

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Stories of Tesla #3: Bio-based Plastic Packaging

May 11, 2020

The third project “Bio-based Plastic Packaging” is for the Federatie Nederlandse Levensmiddelen Industrie (FNLI). 

The packaging industry is one of the largest segments to produce plastic worldwide. Following the negative effects of plastic production (e.g. CO2 emission) and usage on the environment and climate, there is a high need for sustainable packaging solutions. Bio-based plastics are often a sustainable replacement for petroleum (fossil) based plastics as they reduce the dependence on fossil raw materials and are often accompanied by a reduction in CO2 emission. Subsequently, the Dutch government wishes to upscale the share of bio-based plastics from 1.5% (2016) to 15% by 2030.

The Federatie Nederlandse Levensmiddelen Industrie (FNLI) is a branch organization representing all food and drink producers in the Netherlands. As these producers bring packaging-product combinations to market, they have producer responsibility concerning sustainable packaging legislations. However, as FNLI industry members must adhere to different sustainability regulations, while also maintaining high-quality packaging material for their product and being economically viable, this is a very complex and challenging position. Moreover, the FNLI does not currently have a general and clear approach with regards to the usage of sustainable materials (e.g. bio-based plastics) in their product-packaging combinations due to a very diverse packaging portfolio.

Our project aims to investigate the potential uptake of bio-based plastics in the packaging-product combinations of FNLI industry members in the bread and milk sector. We will investigate different bio-based plastics (Bio-PE, bio-PET, PLA and PEF), assess operational obstacles, materialize possible trade-offs and forecast the sustainability impact of proposed solutions. Throughout our project there will be a focus on the Dutch packaging chain and its associated stakeholders. Moreover, the Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken (KIDV) will provide us with guidance and knowledge regarding sustainable packaging throughout our project.

Our project will result in the following deliverables: (1) An extensive report which will encompass an overview of our research efforts, (2) a roadmap which will consist of a prioritized plan entailing the most promising steps to undertake for the FNLI, (3) a pitch where we present the highlights of our report and roadmap and (4) a small hand-out which will directly inform the FNLI  industry members with our most important findings.

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Stories of Tesla #2: Fair Infrastructure

May 1, 2020

The second project “Fair Infrastructure for City Couriers” is for TNO.

The projects current situation

At this moment, meal delivery is more popular than ever! This has resulted in an increased market demand of efficient shipping organization. This puzzle of pick up and deliver of meals requires an efficient and optimized organization of the restaurants and couriers. Third parties, so-called two- or multi-sided platforms, have appeared on the market and have taken over this organization from the restaurants. These third parties have grown very fast and gained a lot of power over the past years. This makes it difficult for other companies to compete, leaving restaurants no other choice than to collaborate with these powerful companies. And this enables the dominant third parties to charge high margins for their services, in disadvantage of suppliers, couriers, and consumers. 

Research question

 Our client, TNO, wants us to investigate the options for a delivery service platform which is not governed by a single company. Therefore, we first need to understand how current platforms operate and what are the pros and cons of their organization model. Using this information, we can make an overview of the mechanisms and solutions for creating a fair and neutral platform, which excludes for-profit third parties from the market. 

Solution

 During this project we will investigate the applicability of an open, neutral distribution platform for city distribution by bike couriers in Amsterdam. A possible base for such a platform is blockchain, which is a distributed database that contains immutable transactional data. Since such a method leaves out a central company that mediates the collaboration between stakeholder, the system is based on an innovative trust mechanism. During this project we will investigate the different options for such a mechanism.

Deliverables

  The goal of this project is to get insight into the applicability a blockchain-based distribution platform. We will first create a stakeholder map, in which all stakeholders and their interests are positioned on the market. Secondly, we will make a functionality map, in which we investigate how the stakeholders are connected and what is necessary for good collaboration. After we have created insight in how the market is organized, we will create a technical map in which we describe whether the technical aspects of blockchain can meet the requirements of the platform. This will optionally be extended by implementing a prototype of the platform. In a report we will describe the results of our research and a concluding recommendation of whether and how a block-chain platform should be implemented. 

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Stories of Tesla #1: Amsterdam Science Park

April 29, 2020

Welcome to the first post of this series, where we would like to introduce all of the Tesla minor 2020 projects. The first project “Keen on Green” is for Gemeente Amsterdam.

We all know the climate is changing, which will make cities such as Amsterdam face more extreme weather conditions: hot and dry summers and wet winters. For our client, the municipality of Amsterdam, we are going to think about the implications of these weather conditions for the Amsterdam Science Park (ASP).

ASP is an area within Amsterdam that is still developing and its building density will increase in the coming years, making it even more vulnerable to climate change. What measures can we take to make ASP climate adaptive? At the same time, we have to take comfort of inhabitants and the biodiversity into account. A possible adaptation measure is the implementation of more green roofs, which can retain water during heavy rainfall, cool the environment during summer and can increase the biodiversity.

At the moment we are gathering data on the current state of heat drought, water management, biodiversity, comfort of inhabitants and implemented adaptation measures.

In the end we would like to deliver two scenario’s: a worst-case scenario (when we implement nothing) and an adaptation scenario (when adaptation measures are implemented).

 

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Stories of Tesla #8: Caventou

June 18, 2018

The world’s population is growing, and so is the demand for healthy food. Staay Food Group is going to build the biggest vertical farm in Europe where they can grow crops in closed system with LED lights 💡(thus no sunlight)! Such a vertical farm is highly productive, uses no pesticides, and less water! Is this the start of revolutionizing agriculture?! What do you think? 🌱🌱🌱

 

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Stories of Tesla #7: TNO

June 15, 2018

Let’s get personal!

During the Tesla Minor it is not all about the project, you will also get all sorts of trainings. The trainings are very diverse, from time management to working in teams. During the whole period of the Tesla Minor, there is a lot of room for reflection and learning. So, this week we had a training in which we reflect on ourselves and learned more about our personality! Before the training, we had to fill in a short questionnaire which was the MBTI personality test. Questions about whether you plan everything beforehand or whether are rather be working on your own came up.
During the training we did several assignments that made us think about which personality profiles there are and to which one we see ourselves. So, we had to draw our perfect holiday with a small group and watched for 10 seconds to a painting and tell what we saw. These assignments made us more aware about how we think and behave.
At the end of the training we received our results of the test and we discussed these in the project group. By taking this test everyone learned what personality profiles there are and which personality traits they have. By discussing the results we not only learned more about ourselves but also about our teammates. Hopefully, this helped everyone to understand each other better and improve the atmosphere and productivity in the team!

Strange places.

Walking through a random village we have never heard the name of, we wonder what got us here. As we stroll past some cows in a field, our destination comes into view: who could have known that the innovative company with that fancy story and exiting website operates from a shoebox sized garage next to a barren field. But then again, how often do you actually get to visit the places you come across on your research’ google-vaganzas?
During the Tesla minor, this is exactly what you try to do. Life’s too short to try and study everything yourself, especially when there’s people out there that already know everything you want to know. Therefore, during our projects we try to step out of our comfort zone and get the knowledge directly from experts in the field. You would be surprised by how many professors and CEOs are willing to talk to you, especially if you’re asking them about the things they are passionate about. So, here we are, into the shoebox!
Meeting with the CEO of the company we are slowly brought back to the spirit of the website, and then beyond. Looking at invention upon invention, carried by the stories of a spirited businessman, we are enchanted by his visions; this is exactly what we are looking for! Then, after a meeting of merely an hour another difference with any uni lecture; let’s talk business. We agree on general terms, some ‘my guy will talk to your guy’ and a handshake later we’re back outside.

Greeting the cows on our way back to the bus it’s quite clear: it would have taken days of desktop research to understand what we just learned, and even then we would never have had such a practical solution to our problem. Sometimes it is well worth it to step out of your comfort zone and meet an expert directly (next time my bike breaks down I’m just going to call an engineer) and we have Tesla to thank for this lesson. On top of that, you get to visit the most interesting places you never guessed would exist, all during school hours!

Let’s cook!

For the normal Tesla student, a Tesla week is filled with trainings, meetings, and project work. But for the students of the Tesla-TNO team, there are some additional tasks: cooking and eating!
With the three of us, we are developing a new challenge meal for our client TNO. This challenge meal is a high-caloric milkshake. By measuring the bodies response to this ‘challenge’ you can say something about your metabolic health. We already have developed several recipes to make this special challenge meal. However, before we can hand these over to our client, we first have to test them!
So – dedicated science students we are -, we spent some of our Tesla day to go to the supermarket and combine the necessary ingredients. While everyone was working in the offices, we started cooking (yes, everyone loved us very much at that moment). Besides having a lot of fun, we also made some important steps for our project as we managed to make several ‘theoretically’ edible challenge meals. Additionally, to include the Tesla group in this scientifically sound process, we dedicated one of our Friday afternoon presentations to actually tasting the meals. Here, all Tesla student were part of a taste panel and had to rate the shakes on taste, structure and heaviness.
Thus, taking this fun but useful experiences into account, I think it is safe to say that if you think a Tesla project is only consists of meetings and writing you are WRONG! Practical work and testing also plays a big part of various projects. So, if you want to get the most out of your Tesla experience: choose a project with practical aspect. Then, maybe next year YOUR group will be envied for cooking in the workplace 😉
Cheers,
Laura, Luuk and Roos (the only people who gained weight instead of muscles during Tesla).

Stories of Tesla

Stories of Tesla #6: Confocal

June 12, 2018

Since we’re such incredible hard workers the Tesla gods Joris & Tim concocted a great day out for us to take some time to relax. We first went to Anna’s tuin to all learn about its concept of creating a large space of wild nature in the city of Amsterdam. We scraped together a DIY BBQ and cut our own wood with the bluntest axe imaginable. “Feel the rage Elena!”.

Next we went to the Artis library to look at some pretty nice books and learn some sweet facts to impress your crush at parties. We got to look at some leaf cells up close using a replica of one of van Leeuwenhoek’s miniature magnifying glasses. We also got to see some of the letters written by the great man himself: Charles Darwin. Daan can rest in peace having touched one of the piece of papers formerly handled by his legend himself. As our brains were storing all this precious information we strolled through Artis to look at all the lovely animals. Daan couldn’t wait to tell everyone about what he probably considers his second home (He’s quite enthusiastic about animals if it wasn’t clear already).

All in all we had a pretty sweet day reminding us and everyone that Tesla is not only about hard work but plenty of fun as well!