Hacktivate the city!

Brussels too noisy, too dirty or unsafe? Instead of complaining, today’s youth is coming up with some fresh ideas to tackle urban issues.

BOZAR showed off the results of the Gluon STEAM Labs, in which young people, artists and technologists set off on an interdisciplinary quest for solutions to big city challenges. The young ‘urban activists’ draw their inspiration from the city and use new digital technologies to come up with ideas, tools and prototypes for a more sustainable Brussels. Here are some of their ingenious ideas:

Hacktivate the City - S.T.E.A.M LABS



Elias (14 year old)
City sounds 

Looking for a quiet spot in the city? The sound level of different places in Brussels can be reproduced real-time On Elias’ map. This soundmap uses lights to show us the way through the hubbub of the city.


Anton (15), Bryan (17), Hugo (14), Kasper (14), Maxence (14)

Although commuting by bike can be beneficial to your health and to the environment, biking in the city is still not as safe as it could be. That’s why these teenagers designed a set of bike lights that let you signal to others when you turn and show when you are breaking. These snazzy lights come in two different styles: as “horns” that you can attach to your helmet (kid’s version), and as a case of lights that you can attach to the back of your bike (for adults).

Jonas (14 year old)
The Anti toxic vase 

As well as holding flowers and looking pretty this vase can also measure the amount of fine dust particles present in the house. Perfect if you have a wood-burning stove. The technology can also be put to use outdoors in order to measure pollution created by larger stoves, such as incinerators or factory emissions!


Elliot, Imane (16), Louis (15), Salma (16), Samuel (16), Sinem (14)
Slimme Vuilnisbak

Walking through the streets of Brussels, this group was struck by how much garbage they saw on the ground. Their solution? A smart garbage can that encourages people to throw away their trash properly. The bin plays music when a piece of trash is inserted, and lights on the side of the bin indicate how full it is. When the bin is full, the garbage can alerts you that it needs to be emptied. In future prototypes, the incentive for throwing away trash could be increased, for example, by giving you a megabyte of cellular data for each piece of trash you throw away. This way, people have a real motivation to keep the streets clean!


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