One example of such a tech-start-up is SenseGlove. At their stand, two representatives of the company show how the sensor-fitted ‘haptic glove’ works. “Our idea emerged from a rehabilitation programme for people who had suffered a heart attack,” says David Mullet from SenseGlove. “During this project, we tried to help heart attack patients in their recovery through the active force feedback technique: a glove that forces your fingers to move. We used this technique to design our gloves, a complete wireless glove that makes training sessions in virtual reality much more realistic. Instead of pressing buttons on a controller, the glove enables you to feel things with your fingers in VR.”
Engineer seeks entrepreneur
“The power of a start-up with impact lies in the multidisciplinary aspect,” says Marta Stachowiak-de Wit from Erasmus Enterprise. Erasmus Enterprise invests in promising start-ups and has set up several initiatives to bring together enterprising talent. “We see start-ups in Delft working hard on technical innovations, but they say they need ‘business minds’ in their teams. In Rotterdam, there are a lot of commercial entrepreneurs who develop good business models but are looking for engineers. The collaboration between Erasmus University and TU Delft was established to bring these two groups together.
“It was great to see that entrepreneurs inspire each other to think big. In the promotional period, I talked to many EUR students who weren’t keen on the word ‘tech entrepreneurship’, because tech didn’t mean much to them. But these start-ups come here to connect with EUR entrepreneurs. You can always use entrepreneurial skills, even if you don’t become an entrepreneur.”
A start-up of a different category is the electric aircraft Venturi. “Our aircraft has ‘zero emissions’, says Joost Dieben from Venturi. “No water, no nitrogen, no condensation trails. And the aircraft is nearly 40 percent quieter than current aircraft. The battery is half of the weight of the aircraft, and the wings are extra long because that proved to be the ideal shape. We are not the first to come up with this idea. Like us, several companies are working on their prototypes, and we have several competitors who are already flying, but then in a two-seater version. We want to be the first fully electric commercial aircraft, which can take 44 passengers.”
Dieben also emphasises the importance of thinking big at the fair. “If you really want to change something in the world, you need to think out of the box. The consequences of emissions for the environment are a massive social problem that we are trying to resolve. When you have a big idea that makes an impact, you will see that people will be keen to help you because they want to be part of it.”