Print Your Own City: 3D printed furniture from plastic waste

Problem: plastic waste (it is estimated that Amsterdam residents generate 23 kg of plastic waste per person annually)


  • Rotterdam-based studio The New Raw is turning household plastic waste into furniture for public spaces
  • Household plastic, including plastic shopping bags, can be melted into a base product for large-scale 3D printing
  • They have also launched a campaign called “Print Your City!” to redesign urban spaces, whereby communities’ own collected plastic can be used to make the same furniture used in their community
  • The annual plastic waste from two people is enough to produce one bench such as their prototype – the XXX bench (in collaboration with Actual,  who specialize in large-scale bio-based 3D printing).


ArticleThis brilliant project turns plastic waste into 3D-printed benches for Amsterdam

Link: The New Raw – Print Your City! 

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  • city residents – who have the opportunity to design their own pieces of furniture for public spaces
  • municipalities and city governments
  • business owners around public spaces which are prime sites for urban rejuvenation

First 3 steps in deploying this technology: 

  1. Public awareness & engagement for design ideas
  2. Collect plastic from recycling depots
  3. Design furniture


The Most Efficient Transportation System in the World: Seoul


  • Rapid population increase in Seoul, South Korea, as a result of post-war migration and an economic boom in the 1950’s.
  • There are 50 times more cars on Seoul’s roads now than in the 1970’s.

Solution: Smart Transportation Management

  • In 2004, the city began to overhaul it’s public transportation and road system through the use of data collection and consequently, through monitoring public transport and traffic in real-time.
  • The Seoul Traffic Vision 2030 was presented in 2013, including public transport, roads, side-walks, city railway systems as a systemic recommendation for improvement.

“By 2030, the city of Seoul will have evolved into a city with a highly convenient transport system, where people will not need to rely on their cars.”  – Seoul Traffic Vision 2030

  • Smart ticket systems and cameras monitor subway congestions, road-based sensors monitor traffic flows, and an in-built GPS system monitors taxi movement in the city, which feed into a central system used to post updates on digital roadside billboards and traffic reporting platforms, such as online.
  • Through this, buses, cars and trains can be maneuvered in the most efficient way.
  • The city has also focussed on pedestrianization, getting more people out of cars and onto walkways. An example of this is the Seoullo 7017 walkway, which makes use of an abandoned highway overpass as a new pedestrian route.

Article: How Seoul is using technology to avoid “traffic hell” 

Seoul Traffic Vision 2030: Website


Seoullo 7017


  • All commuters
  • Municipal government
  • City planners
  • Business owners (large employers of the commuter base population)

Steps to Implementation: 

  1. Sensor installation
  2. Overall system analyses (data collection)
  3. System re-design
  4. Infrastructure improvements
  5. Further sensor installation in new systems
  6. Training of transport officials
  7. Public awareness of alternative routes and optimal travel methods, and availability of platforms to independently track these
  8. Adoption of system commuter recommendations
  9. Measurement and monitoring
  10. Additional installations as technology improves

Comment on Plastic Bottle Concrete: 

Another article on this topic (Link) says that the plastic needs to be irradiated with gamma rays in oder to change the crystalline structure (ie. more cross linkages in the lattice lead to stronger concrete when mixed with plastic). It would be interesting to analyze how much this irradiation process would cost on an industrial scale when incorporated into cement production.



Big Data for Better Health of the Elderly

Problem: By 2050, there will be 370 million people in China over the age of 65, with an increased life expectancy and a resulting increasing burden on existing infrastructure. Many elderly people live alone or with others who are less capable of assisting them with their increasing medical needs, and access to such services is burdensome and logistically challenging to those with mobility hindrances.

Solution: mHealth – the use of communication technology to deliver medical attention and information.

Article: Can China find a solution for the world’s aging population? 

  • Elderly people with restricted mobility can go through the process of “visiting a doctor” without leaving their homes.
  • Numerous companies are providing platforms for this, including, Ali Health, iCarbonx and the Ningbo Cloud Hospital.
  • Wearable technology is becoming incorporated rapidly to provide real-time data inputs, which has value beyond patient care in a sample group as large as China, where data on this scale can be used for genomic medical studies, and population-wide health management.
  • Data mining combined with machine learning can bring new levels of insight to topics such as disease, aging, and treatment adoption, as well as provide tailored healthcare solutions to individuals based on a variety of lifestyle indicators.


  • This is an unquantified investment opportunity for a number of stakeholders, including medical care providers, pharmaceutical companies, online medical retailers, medical transport services.
  • Department of Heath
  • Private Healthcare Companies
  • Patients (specifically the elderly)

Step to Deployment: 

  • With significant scale, the adoption of these smart health systems can be incentivized or even mandated throughout elderly healthcare facilities, to begin to develop the necessary database and sample data.
  • Government adoption of the technology and subsidization, through an elderly support program, may help to reach elderly citizens who are more financially restricted.
  • Training for both users of the technology and well as the sales force who will be distributing it.


MotionMap: stress-free parking and more

Problem: Small cities (such as Milton Keynes, UK) are growing rapidly in population, but cannot always expand physically, and thus do not have the infrastructure or space to cope with booming numbers of residents.

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Solution: Data management and the appropriate real-time mobility and movement software – such as MotionMap.

  • The app gives users a real-time view of all transportation and civilian movements in the city, to facilitate planning around traffic routes and parking, train delays, construction works and weather.
  • The interface uses a combination of user observation and sensors around the city to track information, including sensors for available bus capacity, number of wheelchairs and push-chairs on public transport etc.
  • The data will also be used by the council to facilitate town planning, as the city cannot endlessly build roads and carparks to facilitate the growing urban population.
  • MotionMap is in partnership with the Milton Keynes Smart City Project, “MK:Smart”, which is based on a Data Hub operated by the Open University.


  • University Data Hub team
  • City planners & council
  • Civilians (public transport users, drivers, cyclists)
  • Shopping centers, offices, public services (which require parking)


Steps to Deployment: 

  1. Data gathering: obtain real-time and historical data to start to forecast trends in movement
  2. Marketing: raise civilian awareness about the technology and its applications
  3. Partnerships: work with city council and private businesses to facilitate city movement through traffic, transport links and parking availability (especially in currently underutilized spaces).


Article: A multistep smart city initiative 

Comment: Cows Wearing Backpacks – A Methane Solution 

These backpacks seem like a great innovation but it does not mention the welfare of the cow anywhere, and seems like a very invasive approach. It would be interesting to also look at the unit cost of each backpack as opposed to the cost of changing the cow’s diet to reduce methane production, or on a larger scale the cost of investing in meat-alternative technologies. It should be noted that the article says large-scale production is unlikely.



Green lawns for less: Smart Irrigation

Problem: Water Management

  • Places like California are facing more frequent and longer lasting periods of drought.
  • Having an automatic springer system can be a huge waste of regional water supplies on something that is non-esstential.

Solution: Rachio (Website)

  • Rachio have developed an system of managing home owners water usage making it easier for them to save water.
  • The system comes in two varieties: an 8-zone unit ($200) and a 16-zone version ($250).
  • Physical installation is similar to a traditional sprinkler timer. Zone wires are inserted into clips inside the device, then the device is plugged into a standard wall jack.
  • The system is controlled through a mobile app, which guides you through a series of questions which determine how much water your plants need, based on type of vegetation, soil type, sun exposure, and the slope of the land.

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  • Middle and upper income families who wish to maintain the aesthetics of their property in dry areas.
  • Water utility companies.
  • Gardening services.


Three steps to deploying:

  1. Install the main hardware at the source of your springer system.
  2. Connect it to you home wifi network.
  3. Download the control app.




The Internet Could Heat Your Home

Problem: the need for connectivity and bigger servers is increasing, but they are hugely energy intensive.

Solution: Give the produced heat a purpose, to create energy savings somewhere else and prevent energy wastage.

  • Data centers require a large number of fans and cold water to keep them cool. The fans are really loud, and the heat produced is usually wasted.
  • Stockhold Data Parks runs in partnership with the city’s government, Fortum Värme (heating and cooling agency) to try to optimize the use of this heat.
  • Cold water feeds through pipes to the data centre, where it is heating through the data centre’s cooling process, and then runs back to Fortum’s plants where it is used for heating.
  • Stockholm Data Parks expects to generate enough heat to warm 2,500 residential apartments by 2018, but the long term goal is to meet 10% of the entire heating need of Stockholm by 2035.

Article: Link



  • Possible commercial customers (shopping malls etc)
  • Residential buildings – 10 MW of energy is needed to heat 20,000 modern residential apartments, whereas an average Facebook data centre uses 120 MW.
  • Companies with data centers
  • City governments and local utility providers

Deployment steps: 

  • List and contact stakeholders (listed above)
  • Model partnerships between heat producers and consumers which are geographically efficient.
  • Value the cost incentive – will it save money overall with the new infrastructure investment?

Comment on CyberRain:

This technology could have the potential to be expanded to cities that make use of rainwater for other uses, or monitor city-wide water management during unpredictable rainfall seasons and drought conditions. It could also be incorporated into water payment systems to create incentives for water savings on irrigation.

I don’t have any change but I want Change: contactless payment for homeless donations

Problem: Cities around the world have a growing homeless population who survive on donations from passers-by. In many cases, these donations are used for drugs or alcohol rather than for basic necessities like food and clothing, sparking debate between those who donate their change to the homeless, and those who do not. The homelessness problem encompasses civic engagement, health and safety, waste management and a host of other sustainability problems. For those who do donate, it is become less common to carry cash meaning that often they would like to donate change, but do not have any on them.

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Solution: ‘Helping Heart’ contactless payment jacket

  • An Amsterdam-based company, N=5, has come up with the concept to make homeless donations more feasible in a modern city, but also to monitor their use.
  • The jacket has an in-built contactless payment reader and LCD screen, set to a cap of EUR 1 per donation.
  • The wearer can then redeem the value of the donations from participating stores and shelters in the form of food, clothing, shelter and other essentials.
  • There are also options to direct payments towards vocational training courses and savings.


  • Helping Heart is designed specially for homeless donations, but the concept of contactless donations could be used as part of numerous charity fundraising initiatives.
  • The technology would be used by the homeless, by participating donors, by shelters and by representatives of charities hoping to raise funds.

Steps to Deployment: 

  1. Identify and organize various organizations willing to participate, namely shelters, banks, supermarkets, restaurants, clothing stores or community centers.
  2. Distribute jackets to homeless people around the city. Include an explanation or training for the wearers on how the technology works, and what they are entitled to.
  3. Invest in marketing for city dwellers to know that this is a donation option and that donations will be used for legitimate purchases of necessities, to incentivize donation.

ArticleIs ‘tap and go’ a better way to give to charity?

Company Case Film: N=5, Helping Heart

Comment on “Extinguish a Fire with Low-Frequency Sound Waves” 

The point on incorporating the technology into “swarm robotics” is a fascinating now, with an army of waterless fire-fighting drones ready to be launched at a larger-scale fire. In London, the recent Grenfell Tower fire was incredibly devastating due to the high-rise nature of the building and although many people were saved on the lower levels, firemen could not reach the higher levels fast enough. Drones would have the ability to fight the fire from above, possibly in unison with firefighters working from below, and devices like the sonic extinguisher are light enough (possibly not yet, but in later models) that this could become a reality.

This lightweight capability also makes these extinguishers possible for vehicles or airplanes, where weight is a consideration, or even in schools etc. where children would struggle to lift a fire extinguisher if required to.

An additional point is the concern over the high-heat, as the sonic extinguishers currently have no cooling system of their own, which would add weight and expense, and is a design capability that needs to be established.



Landfill gas for dinner: Is methane-made protein the future of food?

Problem: Landfills and sewage plants produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change. At the same time, the world’s demand for food, especially those high in protein, is soaring.

  • Two companies – Calysta Inc. (CA, USA) and String Bio (India) have independently discovered processes for converting landfill biogas to protein.
  • Methanotrophic soil bacteria ferments the methane to protein in a water-based solution, which can be dried into an edible powder.
  • The protein is currently added to animal feed, whilst human consumption trials are planned pending further purification.
  • The product can be used as a fish-meal replacement, which is currently sourced from wild commercially-caught fish, the populations of which are under immense pressure from over-fishing.
  • StringBio aims to commercialize these systems to a domestic level for community waste-to-protein initiatives.


Bloomberg Technology: Landfill Gas for Dinner? Scientists to Cook Food From Waste (September 26, 2017)

Stakeholders interested in this technology:

  • Landfill / biogas plants / any other methane producing industrial processes
    • Plant operators
    • Waste management
  • Animal feed agribusinesses and high-protein food retailers
    • Investment team
    • Procurement and supply chain

Steps for deployment:

  1. Measure methane levels at production facility for feasibility
  2. Install methane-capture technology
  3. Send to relevant conversion company (ie. Calysta Inc.) for processing


Cut Food Waste & Boost Kitchen Profits


Problem: The global hospitality industry throws out $100 billion worth of food per year.

  • Winnow Solutions is a UK-based company which has developed a smart meter to monitor and reduce food disposal in commercial kitchens.
  • It comprises a scale, an LCD panel and wireless connectivity. Before workers throw anything away, they select the type of food using the panel, and after they dispose of the food, the system automatically weighs how much has been discarded.
  • It also calculates and displays the dollar value of the wasted food, which is more relatable and impactful to business owners.
  • The technology helps professional kitchens, particularly in hotels and schools, to better quantify food preparation and production processes, and save money.
  • Customers typically save 3-8 % on food costs, and sites using Winnow can expect an ROI of 2x to 10x.


Company Website: Winnow Solutions 

Articles:  CNNMoney (Also Bloomberg, TEDx, Waste360)

Organizational Stakeholders who will need this technology solution will primarily be commercial kitchen managers, business owners in the hospitality industry or contracted caterers in school kitchens etc. The technology will be used day-to-day by kitchen staff.

Deploying the technology: 

  1. Install the scale and LCD screen system in the food disposal bins in the kitchen.
  2. Train employees on how it works, such that they will select the food type (or menu item) before throwing food away and the relevant amounts will be recorded.
  3. Review daily reports to gauge trends and target changes in food quantities.