Relevant and practical
Both Schouwenaar and Van Beek studied at TU Delft. The fact that they established their company in Rotterdam, and not in Eindhoven or Amsterdam, has never been an issue for them. ‘Rotterdam is a great place to grow. When we started, life here was not expensive. Compared to other cities, you could find a very affordable living and working space here. That gave us room to experiment. It’s partly thanks to the small buffer we had saved that we were able to afford to work on The Social Distance Thing and Bubble Badge for two months without pay. That is worth a lot. What also makes Rotterdam attractive,’ said Schouwenaar, ‘is the mix of creatives who settle here. You’ll find designers and artists from Design Academy Eindhoven, TU Delft, the Willem de Kooning Academy and the Grafisch Lyceum. That makes for a lot of fun crossovers, just in our building. If we need an animation, an illustration or a movie, it’s just a matter of popping into someone’s office, and it’s sorted.’
Bubble Badge is now fully developed and has entered the production phase. As the transmitters roll out of the factory, the men of The Incredible Machine are already working on their next project. ‘We’re looking at how we can use tech to develop a responsible way of contact tracing, for example, with a key chain that you can carry in your pocket that stores who you have been in contact with.’ Look forward, keep at it, as the people of Rotterdam are used to.