Hi, I call myself Beam Contrechoc….(although my name seems to be Bram van Waardenberg).

Beam is a tutor at the WdKA, and I work as an artist-designer, for instance at the Fashion Tech Farm in Eindhoven.

I started in science and have a master (a so called drs.) in Astronomy and then studied autonomous art at “the academy”, now called the WdKA. I am working in e-textile design and am teaching at the WdKA from 2008.

My latest project is Interactive Publication Textiles at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven:

I have given courses on topics of design & technology: Energy for Designers, E-texiles, Energy Harvesting, Folding for Designers, Data Design, programming, electronics, knitting, Data Visualisation…


Busy during the ESA-NASA Space App hackathon 2015 with a dress changing on brain waves.


showing interactive cubes during the e-textile summercamp in France, Poncé-sur-le-Loir, 2016

jumping with kites during a project in France, 2019

starting an interactive garment shop in the Städtische Galerie in Bremen, 2022,

Websites: —-the official, updated this summer… ……the designer kitchen, where I post pictures nearly daily …. extensive kite project in France …. a movie making funny kites with poems ….about the latest elective: Kites and Energy







Kite Power in the Press

In the Elective Kites & Energy one of the example projects gaining energy with a Kite was from the Dutch Company Kite Power.

Monday 27-09 this company had an article in the Press: NRC


BoTu review

For scenario’s for BOTU have to be distinguished.

1. Rotterdam: BOTU resilience program:

  • Aanpak in wijken:
  • Armoede
  • Veiligheid
  • Werkgelegenheid
  • Woongelegenheid

2: IABR: studie


Spatial-Energetic Building Block

by OOZE Architects and Urbanists

document: (Dutch)

Study with calculations.

Realistic, SWOT analyse.

3: Huis van de toekomst: House of the Future

Manifesto about “Human Power”, linked to 4:


Human Power Plant:

Speculatief Scenario, energy generated by human power, for example a tram “running on” 60 people making it move.

which comes from:


More about 4:

BoTu – House of the Future – is an initiative to look at the scenario for an area of the city of Rotterdam Bospolder-Tussendijken functioning on their own energy.

Links: (Dutch)

English version:

The story on this website regarding human energy is based on the article in LowTech:

The story starts with a lot of positive things: making your own bread for the community seems nice! Growing your own food – very bucolic. So, a paradise? Well not if there is no wind and sun: then the power needed must be provided by your exercise!

Speculative Design

The stories in my opinion are “speculative design”, this means they provide an impression. For instance they suggest to be able to say no “to modern healthcare, which is completely dependent on fossil fuels. Yet the inhabitants are just as healthy as other Dutch people.” (citation from the site

To me personally this sounds strange: people get ill, needing special care, specialized hospitals.

Or: “the residents … are flocking to the main shopping street. They do this on their own, without the use of fossil fuels or electricity.” (citation from the site

To me this sounds strange too: I always get around on my bike (on muscle power, not an electrical bike) shopping not with my car. And this bike has to be produced in a big factory, like any bike. This production already has consumed a lot of energy.

On the one hand there is a lot of technology inside this neighborhood, like solar panels and wind turbines, but at the other hand (no wind and sun) everything has to be powered by hand. But where are these solar panels and turbines coming from? And the electronic gadgets for parties which are still organized when there is enough energy?

Human Power

In the story of LOWTECH about muscle power there are self critical remarks included, like “a human generating electricity would earn only 0.015 per hour.”, meaning: can anybody be really motivated to spend 2-6 hours every day on exercise machines for “community purposes”, like in the student house project they describe?

On the BoTu site this slightly critical tone is abandoned. It is suggested that it is possible with human power to provide all the energy needed.

What seems more realistic is the story of the tram line, powered by human energy. They calculate that for a tram having 60 passengers, the energy need to make it move should be coming from 20 persons powering this vehicle with their muscles. Realistic – but then a bit absurd…and do you really need a tram inside this not so big area?

Middle Ages

Reading all the scenario’s a feeling of the Middle Ages with hard labour and little individual choice is coming up. No private space anymore, because sitting together is more energy efficient. Eating in community kitchens (in Dutch “eten wat de pot schaft”), probably what everybody wants, which might be only French fries….(Dutch: Patat).

And maybe that feeling is what is meant. Indeed, maybe we are spending too much energy. Sure! The climate is reacting. But getting back to manual labour for every drop of energy in our climate…


So the purpose of the project is reached for me! Now I am scared!





About Energy Domains, what can and cannot charge your smart phone

Can “anything” which produces “electricity” charge my smart phone?

A solar cell produces electricity, so it should charge my smart phone, or not?

For example – ask yourself which of these project could charge your smart phone:

  1. The dress from solar fiber, amongst others by
  2. The solar shirt of Pauline van Dongen:
  3. A solar cell phone charger: check out the internet for “the best solar phone charger”
  4. A donkey with a solar panel in Izmir, Turkey:
  5. A solar cell you made yourself with titanium dioxide:
  6. moss plants?
  7. your mud cell?
  8. the DIY propellor you see in the image to the right?

Answers: (as always with solar power – there has to be sun, otherwise…but say what are the answers if the sun is really shining!

  1. no, no, no!
  2. maybe…sometimes, a little bit.
  3. maybe but a little bit yes – depending on the Sun, that is is it winter or summer…
  4. yes
  5. no, no, no
  6. no, no, no, no, no
  7. no, no, no, no, nooooooooooooo
  8. no, no, no

Now why is it so difficult to charge that all important device in our life? Because this dear companion uses quite a lot of energy…

And not all sources produce enough real usable energy.

Plants really live on a tiny bit of energy compared to our smart phones. So, yes, plants produce energy, but no, don’t expect one plant, or even a lot of plants, to be able to charge your current smart phone. That for the moss plants…

To charge our cell phone we would need about the energy of a day’s work a human can produce! According to this citation, which claims that a human can produce as much energy as a square meter of solar panel.

  1. Een mens kan op een zonnige dag minstens zoveel energie opwekken als een zonnepaneel van 1m2.

The solar shirt of Pauline van Dongen has “the problem” that it will be worn, carried around, and will not always be in the right angle to rays of the Sun. Pauline showed a picture where she rather hangs the shirt on a wall facing the Sun, making it again into a static solar panel! (Lats Friday during the The Solar Biennale Opening Seminar @ Het Nieuwe Instituut September 9th).

The titanium dioxide cell you can make yourself produces only tiny amounts of either Volts or milliamps, (but we even need to multiply these two numbers…). The same goes for the mud cells.

To generate the amount of energy “we” need, indeed at least the square meters of solar cells you see on all the roofs nowadays, or the big wind turbines, the solar farms…

Why are we still bothering about the smaller domains?

Because for instance sending data costs only a very small amount of energy. And transfer of information is as important as “real” energy.

This is well explained in two excellent BBC documentaries presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili:

  1. 1 About Order Disorder:
  2. 2 About Information:

If you need to send data, you can use totally other energy sources, much smaller, which cannot charge your smart phone, but could save the world anyway!

This is the domain of energy harvesting: collecting small amounts of energy, and when you have enough – send your data!

  • Tribo electric, rubbing Teflon etc

For data transfer you can use – of course – also smaller solar cells.

Small amount of energy fun:

or make music and sounds using the solar cell (no battery!) in my windowsill:

In 2015 I made a knitting for the E-textile Swatch Exchange, combined with plastic generating enough energy to flash a LED:

I did an experiment with a Peltier element, where the warmth of my hand provides the energy to make a LED flash:

For the preparation of the elective Kites & Energy in 2022 I used a propeller and a small dynamo on a kite to make a LED flash – and using a microcontroller, this became a Morse Code ….

The Morse Code sending circuit:

You see in this video that blowing on the ventilator on the dynamo produces a signal visible on the Oscilloscope: it is enough t0 give a microcontroller energy to make an LED send a Morse Code in flashes:

You can run small motors on the sun: again in my windowsill in the Spring of 2022:


In order to be able to make your project work you need to calculate what energy you need. Then you have to choose from the possibilities available which source will deliver that energy. Also you have to consider the circumstances. You can think the Sun will be able to deliver the energy , but if you will use your design product in Holland the Sun is not always available, so you need to consider alternatives. Power Law: P = V * I, power equals volt times current.

Energy Law : E = P * s, total energy is power times the number of seconds you apply this power.

Ohm’s Law: V = I * R, Voltage equals Current times resistance.

As a calculating example:

And yes, really doing calculations becomes more and more complex…(even for the sending of simple data):

More in depth, calculations for a solar cell:, there you meet the Maximum Power Point Relation!

For instance, my Victory over the Sun garment, a battle agains a solar cell – presented in 2015 in France:

The dress can generate energy by a hand crank and by a solar cell. The challenge is to generate more energy than the solar cell…easy in the dark of course, but not soo simple in the ferocious rays of the sun!

More pictures can be found here:, where you can see that also the electronics involved was a battle, using energy harvesting chips and supercaps…

One of the unexpected problems which I had to solve was how to get rid of the last bit of energy after the game was played. It turned out to be rather difficult to start at zero Volt again, that is, to get all the energy out of the energy storing supercaps. A bit like getting rid of a few kilo’s of unnecessary bodyweight :-).



ENERGY FIELDLAB in action – Elective Kites & Energy



FIELDLAB – wind energy harvesting in combination with kite making

LAB: we dived into the idea of experiencing generating energy with kites by making kites, by making a simple electro-motor, by making a propeller from a pet bottle, by using an existing generator and adding this with the propeller to the kite.

We made first small kites, we flew these kites, by running in school, by using the wind outside the building – then in groups we made a bigger kite.

We did practice an electric circuit and even (briefly) looked at the use of microcontrollers for sensing, for steering.

We looked at existing far more advanced projects.

FIELD: We flew the kites, we had the propellor turning, made pictures and movies, we proved that the concept could work, even in this simple set-up.

We reflected on our experiences, and how we could apply this energy-kite experience to other fields or projects, like the Major.

In a logbook the students wrote what they did each days, and their experiences, feelings, making sketches, adding samples.

The educational model is experiential learning: start by doing (playing), getting your hands involved. Then look what works, what could be improved. Try again.

Some stages from the affective taxonomy could be traced: being present, responding, having enormous fun in flying the kite at the Kralingse Plas. The first tries to personalise the kite.

Emergency (from the description of the workshop by Beam)

Energy, we use it all the time. Just get it out of the wall, burn some petrol. But wait! Where does this energy come from? The Earth, the Sun…and do we give something back? No???? Just take and not give back – that means…problems!!! Energy scarcity, fighting for the last drop of energy. This elective will investigate a way not to steal energy from the Earth. We will harvest the energy from the wind, using designer ways: making. Designers can invent, build, test, reflect and improve.

We as designers will build a kite, we will build a dynamo. We need some electronic and a microcontroller, which we also learn on the way. Then we fly the kite with the energy device and show the World how to behave – like a responsible designer!

Detailed program and links:


From Interaction Station Wiki

first elective day program – kite making session



Emergency!!!!! Energy is …

  • a paradox So called taai vraagstuk (Dutch), or wicked problem
  • there is so much
  • it is not enough
  • and what there is – climate change
  • at least
    • don’t waste – but what is wasting energy exactly?
    • reuse existing energy – wind is energy
    • reduce footprint -but again what is a footprint?
    • address the paradox problem – become aware of its complexity

Concept of “The Living Station”

  • Energy as a substance for Design

experiential learning

this page:

Elective picture page:

trying out kites by….wind….running…adjusting….making movies….documenting

lunch talk by Sandrine

making the Indian bana kite

adjusting kite properties

intro microcontrollers

reflection on learning

showing and or flying some kites

second elective day program – electro motor and propeller session

start at 9:00

Sandrine: energy transformation – what is a motor –

A “normal” motor works on a heat difference – steam engine, car motor.

Motors on wind or solar energy don’t use a heat difference. First there is electricity from somewhere, then with a clever trick of copper wiring, this is converted into movement. The clever trick uses the principle of induction.

let’s take a look at some “real” kite energy projects video’s

some intro electricity from magnets and spools

demo special generator spool

making spool from copper wire and the funny rotator:

study difference

  • electro motor
  • generator
  • stepper motor

making propeller

checking with volt meter

kite theory

different kites

again microcontrollers

connecting to the microcontroller maybe?

reflection on learning

improving kite making

  • color the kite surface
  • put text on the kite surface

Thursday – third elective day program – making a bigger delta kite

in your group, you work on your project of kites and energy

there is a small generator available for your group.

one way to go is making a sort of delta kite (the one I showed you) and add your propeller

make a better propeller if necessary, or add all propellers….

find out and make a connection to the generator (making challenge)

show that the led is lighting up

if finished - test you propeller kite in the air this is for Friday

Friday – fourth elective day program – testing kite + electrometer system

morning – you finish your kites in school, so that we can all see what you did and already discuss it.

afternoon - flying the kites

kite ready?

energy system attached?

Location Kralingse Plas, depending on the wind direction, one of the four sides of this square lake.

hopefully there is enough wind – otherwise you have to run your kite

great site for wind prediction: wind –

doing making reflecting documenting

Monday fifth elective day program – reflecting – improving

Monday morning 10:00 – 12:30 we will start the last session.

Bring your bigger kite to school!

We will review the elective and find out what you learnt – also how your learning style.

We will look back at the program and make a general documentation using your best pictures, stories and thoughts

During your kite making don’t forget to make pictures.

At 12:00 or so I have to review your activities from the “logbook” where you made notes and decide if you have passed the elective or not – based on your activities.

showing chatting doing making reflecting documenting

what did we learn? More important: HOW did we learn, how did you learn, there are different styles....

elective main learning goals

making – on two levels

  • design part: kite, shape but also dynamics – something that lifts of in the air
  • design challenge or mission – generation of energy (solving the emergency) by using wind

making – styles

  • improvised making
  • being able to switch between materials and technology
  • reflection on what you make – how to improve

making with uncertainty

  • not being expert in either kite design or energy – how to deal with this?
  • stay in your flow zone – yes, easier said than done 🙂
  • you start with all kinds of unknown techniques, materials, concepts – coping strategies
  • try out, make mistakes, fail and go on
    • learning is only be done by making mistakes, so mistakes are not at all catastrophes, errors or stupid!!!!
    • making mistakes: loss of time, money….yeah – that is learning – but then it is not wasting time!
    • stress – yeah that is learning – try to keep yourself balanced
    • this is psychology – yes of course 🙂
    • if you see something beautiful, or somebody performing well …. be sure the person has put a lot of time and effort into it – and has suffered to get at this level.
  • resist giving up
  • reflect, take time for new approaches
  • ask advice
  • really practice sometimes, till you get it
  • be on the look out for other ways, even other subjects
  • remember your solutions, for other cases

making – reflections

  • practical making
  • critical making
  • investigating making

different learning domains

  • making
  • working with materials
  • working with tools and machines
  • integrating technology
    • electronics
    • microcontrollers
    • programming
  • testing, going out and fly the kite
  • check your goals
    • what is the energy coming out
    • did the kite fly well
    • was it designer fun
    • how can this be improved?
  • what did I learn
    • how will I try this differently the next time

Pedagogical Model

The model we use for this elective is experiential learning (D.A. Kolb, 1984: Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall)

There’s is even a model on top of this: of Kay Peterson and David A. Kolb, 2017 : “How you learn is How you live”:

These models are within the so called affective domain – described or proposed by Bloom and Krathwohl – Handbook II. Affective domain – 1956 the text of which can be found here:

This affective domain is in contrast with the first domain of Bloom and Krathwohl – the cognitive domain.

We are at what I call “a school which operates mainly inside the affective domain”

Affective means here in school terms:

  • learning be being there (in the school) with your fellow students
  • by being present and actively engaged
  • by forming opinions on what your learn
  • by integrating, nurturing and developing these values inside your personality
  • by being changed by what you learn
  • thus learning could be called “subjective”

The affective domain is in contrast with, or next to the cognitive domain because in the cognitive domain you could learn by yourself, just by reading, in a very academic way, and the knowledge acquired is supposed to be objective.

There is a third domain: the psycho motor domain.

This is the “making” part of this elective in a way. You will become “skilled” that is you need to teach your hands, but also in running the kites, you need to learn how to move….

Of course, can we really separate ourselves into “cognitive”, rational, objective, and “affective”, subjective, and behaviour, movement? No! We are beings, and have it all at the same time.

But we like to make models, analyse, reflect don’t we?

making tools – machines

bigger machines:

  • 3D printer
  • lasercutter
  • sewing machine

smaller tools:

  • glue gun
  • cutter
  • fine saw
  • scissors
  • ruler

for electronics and microcontroller:

  • soldering device
  • volt meter
  • different electronic tools
  • programming environment and laptop
  • programmer

ways of kite making

Prototyping: DIY, cheap, fast

making a small tetrahedral kite from straws:


Then you need more expensive materials, good sewing skills, experience with kite making, ideas, kite passion

please make 10 more before even be starting to be proud of yourself! This is really “a skill”.

and a lot of practice making

but you need to be very inspired for this one: (not my own)

special kite design challenge

very practicable

a kite needs to be foldable!

the door and the kite problem:

for this elective I propose the delta , which is foldable:

self made delta in flight:

bought delta in flight (video):

kite materials

cheap DIY

  • newspaper paper
  • plastic from bags etc
  • any light weight paper or material
  • BBQ sticks!
  • bamboo

Special material

  • carbon fiber
  • wooden sticks

kite shop

in the neighbourhood (Schiedam) – can also order online here

online: bv

also and

kite theory

nasa site:

kite tails

rotating tails, bought from shop (Beams kite) :

propellor making

we will start “propellers” folding rotating thing:

different shapes:

material: pet bottle plastic and sheet metal from tins

Beam’s example:

from metal cans: don’t cut your fingers and hand:

3D printing:


Other kinds of small wind turbines:

basic electronics

what is V – Volt – symbol V

what is Ampere – current – symbol I

what is resistance – symbol R

Law of Ohm connect V and I and R: V = I times R – this seems simple but can get complicated when several circuits are combined.

what is a circuit?

basic electronic components we will use

electonic components is series

electronic components in parallel

battery – producer of energy has a voltage

wire – is conductive – connects components

resistor – any component has a resistance and gives a drop in voltage

diode – something that lets current through or not depending on the direction – also has a voltage drop – LED

speaker – transfers energy into sound

electromotor – either makes rotation – movement – from voltage and current (electric energy) or makes electricity from rotation (as a generator)


voltage regulator – prevents voltage above a certain boundary, for instance 5V

rectifier – makes DC current from Alternating current

electro motors

typically designerish: exploring into a very specialised field … as naive as a baby….:-)

a bit clumsy:

see Beam’s experiment:

and try this one:

Making smallest DIY dynamo motor:

Advanced explaining and using a stepper motor:

Making generator from stepper motor: (using h-bridge, capacitor)

mini wind turbine: (a test if it is worth the trouble of printing)

(well commercially …. but for “learning”!!!!)

this is the turbine he is talking about:ÅMÅŽÕÑ&crid=1064Q9X69FI5I&keywords=Infinite+Air&qid=1654454500&sprefix=infinite+air%2Caps%2C158&sr=8-1

pretty big for our kites….

why not using these bigger motors???

advanced: electrometers are … complicated…

see also the links in the description of this video

so here we conclude … yeah, but is is very speculative….


a microcontroller can be programmed to open or close circuits

we will use this to try to send morse code from the kite

needs energy, which comes from the electrometer which is rotated by the wind

script for Attiny85 on kite:

For this elective – microcontrollers:

programmable as Arduino, but smaller and lighter:

programmable as Arduino, but smaller and lighter: (needs a programmer)

ordering microcontrollers, electronics

I order online

webshops which deliver fast: (in the Netherlands)

specially for electronics

electronics, Beam’s setup for a stepper motor

using a rectifier because of alternating current, then a voltage regulator:

using a script with a “watch dog timer” in the ATtiny85

the IKEA LJUSA shows how the rectifying circuit should be done in a “real energy harvesting device”:

energy harvesting

collecting small amounts of energy and transfer this into electricity

  • movement, vibration
  • temperature differences
  • solar energy
  • radiation energy, for example WFI
  • plant energy, like algae, or bacteria around roots of plants

what is “small”?

what to do with small amounts of energy?

  • collect data, like temperature, pollution
  • send data to a bigger device

very small devices, small batteries, specialised chips, for example LTC

very small energies: not something that charges your smartphone.

an old blog of Beam: e-textile summercamp workshop: Beam interaction station page:

applied in this elective: generate energy for sending a morse code for a LED

elective pictures

Beam’s picture collection on Kites&energy:

design and inventor sites on kites and energy: “the real”

Scottisch inventor:

Kite power systems:


Florian Bauer – kiteKraft blog:

kite design

Kite building archive:


Beam’s kite projects

Beam’s kite project in France:

Beam collaboration with Hans Was – poet – project “Woorden in de Wind”:

and this elective!