It is an early July morning and Tony Technician has packed his car ready for a trip to his summer cottage. He is determined to enjoy the warm summer day to the fullest. The drive from Espoo to the cottage in the archipelago takes about three hours.
Environmentally friendly Tony has a car that uses UPM BioVerno diesel, generating significantly reduced transport emissions. High-quality fuel is produced from cellulose waste pine oil obtained as a side-stream from cellulose production, and raw materials suitable for nutrition are not used in production.
Tony is driving the last curves of the cottage road when he notices a new tweet in his cell phone: “Water the flowers”. Luckily he is nearly there. Tony has flower pots that tweet when the flowers in his cottage need watering. Even unexperienced green thumbs can make flowers flourish with this invention. The flower pot invented by VTT can not only tweet but is also biodegradable and cheap.
After watering the flowers, Tony needs some refreshment himself and takes a beer from the cooler. However, this beer is not some basic lager. Five beer bottles were found from the wreck of a ship that sank in the 1840s to the south of Åland. VTT has carefully analysed the contents of these bottles. A new version developed from the old beer tastes especially good today on the terrace.
After a little refreshment, Tony is ready for a trip to the forest. First he decides to test the mobile connection with an application developed by VTT. Broadband speed can be measured with an application called mobiilimittari.fi. It is always good to have a mobile phone that is working up and running.
Tony is pleased to find lot of blueberries in the forest. There are so many that they will be enough for the winter. Tony knows that blueberries are extremely healthy and remembers reading an article about a technology developed by VTT that can be used to improve the content of muffin snacks with “press cake”. VTT has developed and patented a process with which blueberry muffin berries can be replaced with blueberry “press cake”. Because of this, the 6% fibre concentration can easily be achieved without damaging the taste, smell or structure.
The successful forest trip and berry-gathering have made Tony start sweating. Now he needs to use the treatment device for excessive sweating developed by VTT. This easy-to-use, light and portable device utilizes water as the active substance. Operation of the device is based on iontophoresis, a technique used to introduce charged particles into the skin by applying a local electric current.
This time Tony decides to warm up the sauna and take a dip in the sea to wash the sweat away. He uses birch when warming up the sauna, because its high density means that additions are needed less often than when using other tree species. Its heat of combustion per volume is higher than for example with coniferous trees.
The sea water has warmed quickly due to the warm summer. Tony tested the amount of blue-green algae in the sea water in the morning and the water should be clean. The blue-green algae testing kit developed by VTT and the University of Turku is biodegradable and cheap. Only a few drops of water are needed to reveal the result in 15 minutes.
After the sauna Tony is really hungry. He has a package of sausages and fruit salad in the bag but he is not sure whether the salad, made the day before, is still safe to eat. He decides to test the quality of the food with a sensor and notices that it’s all fine. VTT has developed a sensor that detects ethanol in the headspace of a food package. Ethanol, in addition to carbon dioxide, was found to be the main volatile spoilage metabolite in fresh-cut fruit.
Tony wants to help reduce harmful emissions and recycles the beer bottle into waste glass and leftovers into organic household waste. Waste thrown into unsorted waste can’t be recycled but ends up on the scrapheap.
Tony’s summer day has been sunny and successful. The day has also been full of ingenious tips that ease holiday maker’s everyday life. What other summer technologies could there be?
We asked VTT’s researcher
Helena Henno for ideas on useful and fun technologies for the summer. How about a sunhat with built-in solar panels to charge a cell phone or sun lotion causing a tingling sensation when you are exposed to UV-radiation for too long?
Some of the products mentioned are not yet available for purchase, but all are technologies developed by VTT.