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Dutch innovators debut wearable tech and more at the SXSW #DutchToday conference

Wearable Tech: WiFi, Fashion, Music, GPS
Wearable Tech: WiFi, Fashion, Music, GPS
Graphic design: Daan Spangenberg

The culture of the Netherlands is a melting pot in its truest form. With a long history as the largest international trade port, it’s natural that the Dutch would continue to possess an unyielding thirst for communication and exchange.

borre akkersdijk
Photo courtesy of Atelier ByBorre

This desire continues to display through their startup mentality and a culture supportive of innovative technology. As evidence of this, memorable Dutch inventions were listed at the SXSW #DutchToday convention on March 10. Among those in the list were the microscope, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, CD-ROM, and advancements in 3-D printing.

The Dutch government is so supportive of an innovative culture that some of the Dutch presenters were able to receive funds to attend Austin’s SXSW interactive media conference to present. There are at least 50 new innovations listed at the DutchToday website to be presented at SXSW, which was in attendance.

The Dutch Embassy spoke of last year’s SXSW conference, where there were so many technologists and startups from the Netherlands that they wanted to unify it under one interactive hub and to build a bridge between the Netherlands’ startup culture and the global creative community and thus, the #DutchToday convention was born.

One notable wearable technology innovation that drew attention this year, was a solar-powered outfit that can charge devices. The mastermind behind this wearable tech, Pauline Van Dongen, says that she is placing most of her designs in the high-fashion market for right now until the technology is ready. When asked of her design’s transition into the consumer market Van Dongen said,

"With wearable technology, the electronic components need to be smaller, more flexible and washable. As fashion designers, we need to really push the electronics companies to invest in research, and they would need to see a marketing opportunity in this also,”

Van Dongen continues, “We would also need to start thinking about how to create these designs on a mass production scale. Right now, everything is done by hand."

Another wearable tech designer, Borre Akkersdijk became a walking hotspot and provided up to 15 conference goers with WiFi. For him, Aesthetics and functionality are important to his design.

“Everybody is talking about wearable technology, but they aren’t really thinking about how to really integrate into the essence of clothing, in order to really make it wearable, flexible. When I heard about this conference, I asked myself, what’s really practical? WiFi, everybody needs a WiFi"

Akkersdijk also incorporated GPS and music into the suit using 22Tracks. He says that this wearable technology shows us how much you really can integrate our clothes and technology.

Shapeways, one of the biggest 3-D printing companies in the world, and the only one known to print in color, had a line of people waiting to receive their own 3-D printed selfie. It was rumored that one couple posed for the camera—giving each other a kiss—and were going to use it as their wedding cake topper.

These are just a few of the Dutch technologies found at the #DutchToday SXSW conference. If you are a technology addict, you may be finding yourself in Dutch culture before you realize it. In fact, take a look at this "How Dutch Are You" article to find out just how embedded in Dutch culture you probably already are.

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