Master of Innovation - Daan Roosegaarde

 (Daan Roosegaarde by Maarten Kools)

When speaking of a true talented designer/innovator, Daan Roosegaarde directly comes to mind. Some people have never heard of him, but many know his inspiring, yet relatively simple innovations. Daan Roosegaarde is a Dutch oriented designer, artist and innovator. His interest lies in light and all its possibilities and characteristics. As the head of Studio Roosegaarde, he and his team develop innovative projects. Some just for the beauty of it, but many times Roosegaarde aims for 'problems' which could be solved or inventions which makes other things easier and safer.

In this post I would like to highlight his project called "Smart Highway". Not just because it fits in the "Human Movement" category, but because this project caught my eye previous year. It was already shown on the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2012 as well.

(Studio Roosegaarde)

But what exactly is this project about? In scifi movies we often saw highways where cars could float, fly or even bounce. This project isn't like that. Some parts of the project might look like scifi to you, but they have already started realizing some of this brilliant ideas.

Like the one on the picture above. It's part of the "Smart Highway" project and it's called "Interactive Light". Nowadays, in some parts of the Netherlands, street-lighting on highways is on 24/7, even when there are no cars there. Roosegaarde thought of light which would interact with moving cars. When a car is riding, light will turn on some meters before the car, so it lights the road. The light moves, as it were, along with the car, so there'll only be light on places where it's needed.

 (Studio Roosegaarde)

Another idea for lighting highways is called "Wind Light". It's very simple: when a car drives by the lights, the wind of the moving object produces energy so the lights could turn on. This is a more sustainable idea for lighting the road than "Interactive Light", because in this case, energy is produced by wind energy.

(Studio Roosegaarde)

The last one in the category 'lighting the highway' is the project called "Glow-in-the-Dark Road". And again, this is an idea of which you'll probably think: 'Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? This is genius!' The concept is simple: replace the lines on the highway with glow-in-the-dark paint. At daytime, the paint will charge and at nighttime, the glow-in-the-dark will shine and therefore create lighted lines on the road. Though this is a genius idea, it might still be too dark for highways.

And that's probably why they are now testing this concept on cycle paths. These don't need as much light as highways do and short pieces of cycle paths are perfect for some testing. Studio Roosegaarde  and the engineers from Heijmans started a collaboration and the first glow-in-the-dark cycle path has been realized in Eindhoven, the Netherlands already. The idea is to transform most of the cycle paths in the Netherlands into a glow-in-the-dark one. Not just because it can light up cycle paths which would be scary in the dark otherwise, it would be safer and more fun to ride your bike.

 (The glow-in-the-dark cycle path in Eindhoven - Studio Roosegaarde)

This project interests me so much, because these ideas look like scifi and hightech ideas, but in real-life they are actually easy to execute. I like the fact that the society is at this point where ideas like this can be realized and where people are actually accepting it. If Daan Roosegaarde would have introduced his ideas 10 years ago, I think people would say he was nuts. 

Besides that, I like the fact that Roosegaarde is thinking of innovations for developing countries as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed by the projects which he has executed already, but they were meant as art or they were innovations for 'problems which aren't real problems', if you understand me. Yes, improvement is welcome, but it isn't necessary. Therefore I like the fact that he is now thinking of ways he could use his glow-in-the-dark paint. He gave a small example: in developing countries, people put a plastic bottle in a hole in their ceiling, to use it as an inside lamp. Genius, if you ask me, but as Mother Nature decides it's going dark, this invention won't work anymore. Therefore, Roosegaarde came up with the idea to put the glow-in-the-dark paint inside the bottle, so that even after it gets dark outside, people can use the bottle as a lamp for, like, two more hours.
Daan Roosegaarde, you are the Master of Innovation!

If you want to read more about "Smart Highways" and other projects of Studio Roosegaarde, please visit his website (please do!).

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