Dutch Queen Maxima has teamed up with a small robot to unveil a steel 3D-printed steel pedestrian bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light districtBy ALEKSANDAR FURTULA Associated PressJuly 15, 2021, 3:33 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleAMSTERDAM — Dutch Queen Maxima teamed up with a small robot Thursday to unveil a steel 3D-printed pedestrian bridge over a canal in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district.Maxima pushed a green button that set the robot’s arm in motion to cut a ribbon across the bridge with a pair of scissors.The distinctive flowing lines of the 12-meter (40-foot) bridge were created using a 3D printing technique called wire and arc additive manufacturing that combines robotics with welding.Tim Geurtjens, of the company MX3D, said the bridge showcases the possibilities of the technology.“If you want to have a really highly decorated bridge or really aesthetic bridge, suddenly it becomes a good option to print it,” he said. “Because it’s not just about making things cheaper and more efficient for us, it’s about giving architects and designers a new tool — a new very cool tool — in which they can rethink the design of their architecture and their designs.”The 6-ton structure will be loaded with sensors that researchers at Imperial College London will use to monitor the bridge in real time and gauge how it reacts to being used by pedestrians.It will remain in place for two years while the bridge that previously spanned the canal is renovated.Micha Mos, a councillor at Amsterdam municipality, said the bridge could help bring in new tourists as the the city seeks to clean up a neighborhood known for seedy clubs and noisy stag parties.“This may attract a new kind of visitor, one who is more interested in architecture and design, which will help change the way the neighborhood is perceived as more of something you want to visit but visit respectfully than it has been over the few last decades,” he said.————Associated Press writer Mike Corder contributed from The Hague.
Authorities in a central Dutch province have opened what they are billing as the world’s longest solar bicycle pathBy ALEKSANDAR FURTULA Associated PressJuly 14, 2021, 6:05 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleMAARTENSDIJK, Netherlands — Authorities in a central Dutch province opened what they are billing as the world’s longest solar bicycle path Wednesday, mixing sustainable energy with emission-free travel.Students from a local elementary school were the first to ride along the 330-meter-long (360-yard) path located in the village of Maartensdijk, near Utrecht. It is made up of blocks of prefabricated concrete topped with a thin transparent layer that protects and allows sunlight to hit solar cells encased in the blocks.The pilot project is aimed at establishing if such dual-use roads can be more widely used to create solar energy and serve cyclists as the province of Utrecht seeks to slash its carbon emissions.”It’s very important. We want to be climate-neutral in 2040, and then you have to dare to use innovation, and this is very innovative,” Arne Schaddelee, a provincial official, said. “We have a very full province with not much room, and for that reason you have to try dual use. So if you can use roads to generate energy, you have a double advantage.”The solar cycle path was launched on the day the European Union unveiled sweeping new legislation to help meet its pledge to cut emissions of the gases that cause global warming by 55% over this decade, including a controversial plan to tax foreign companies for the pollution they cause.Solar bike lanes are already in use elsewhere in the Netherlands. The path opened Wednesday is the longest yet developed, Utrecht province officials said.One of the first young cyclists to put it to the test, 11-year-old Machiel van Leeuwen, approved.“It’s better for the environment, and I prefer to have solar panels in the bike path than in fields,” he said.