Which NRG Magazine articles captivated readers’ attention most? Let’s take a look back at the most popular pieces from 2015, lined up below and arranged chronologically.

 

1. The Dutch Are in the Self-Quantification Game.

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In early spring 2015, we visited the Quantified Self Institute (QSI) in Groningen. This network organization was initiated by Hanze University of Applied Sciences and founded in collaboration with Quantified Self Labs in San Fransisco. QSI Groningen belongs to the larger movement of the Quantified Self, which unites self-tracking enthusiasts from all over the world and counts more than 40,000 fans. While at the office of QSI Groningen, we talked to Dr. Martijn dee Groot, the medical biologist who is leading the research into wearables and self-tracking. Modern obsession with wearable gadgetry is an interesting societal phenomenon, and Dr. de Groot was kind to explain its causes and possible consequences. Why did self-tracking truly catch on? The answer lies partly in the human nature. Read on to find out more.

 

2. Drones flying high, You Know How I Feel.

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Drones are becoming ever-present in The Netherlands. Except being a lot of fun and a great way to spend your time outdoors, they are also believed to bring around positive shifts for the businesses and the governments. Drones are regarded as a promising new technology in the areas like precision farming, aerial inspections and delivery of goods. Furthermore, a greater implementation of drones across various sectors will likely create 150,000 jobs in Europe by 2050.  However, for the drones to be implemented more often and more safely, a progressive and inclusive legislation needs to come in effect. In 2015, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment proposed the simplification of rules concerning the commercial use of drones in The Netherlands. Why does it matter? We asked Wiebe de Jager, founder of Dronewatch.nl, the first Dutch blog about consumer drones.

 

3. Marvelous Mars: Gamification of Space Science.

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Hans van ‘t Woud, it seems, is fond of overturning popular beliefs. Mars is a boring faraway planet, you say? No. Gaming is a waste of time? Watch me. In 2011 he came up with a first serious computer game about space, at the core of which was a real planet. He believed that, because there are not enough qualified researchers to process the torrents of satellite imagery sent to Earth, regular citizens should step in. The idea of asking the crowds to work through loads of real space data has been tested before, but the form this process took was never visually appealing and had no gaming aspect in it.  In the first prototype version of the game created by van ‘t Woud, users were asked to look at the images taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and map the Mars surface accordingly. The crowd proved to be just as good as the experts, if not better, and this opened new opportunities for both mapping and crowdsourcing. Read the original story and join the game of Cerberus.

 

4. Dear Gas Industry, Meet the Space Experts.

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The total length of the gas transmission pipeline system in Europe reaches more than 143,727 km; each meter needs to be regularly inspected to ensure that the pipes are perfectly intact. Perhaps the most surprising fact is that such inspections are typically carried out simply by flying over with a helicopter or walking/driving along the pipe. Until last year, this was also true for the Dutch gas pipelines operators–even in our era of ubiquitous technology, no dedicated technological solution existed in this sphere. Orbital Eye, the company founded and based in The Netherlands, has found a novel way to conduct efficient pipeline monitoring, using satellite technology. Having partnered with ESA and Gasunie, the company has pioneered the use of space know-how in the Dutch gas industry. For a full account of the events, check what Erik Zoutman, CEO of Orbital Eye’s mother company, has to say.

 

Images in order of appearance: © Jawbone, © Merlijn Hoek on Flickr,  © European Southern Observatory/M. Kornmesser on Flickr , © NRG Magazine

 

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A year in Dutch tech: our best stories from 2015.