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Knee injury leads to innovation

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Knee injury leads to innovation

On June 12th, 2014, Ferdinand van der Neut twists his knee, badly. It’s the beginning of a long period of rehab and setbacks, but, as it turns out, it’s also the start of an entrepreneurial story.

During a game of football at Museumplein in Amsterdam, Ferdinand (32) twists his knee. Right away, he knows that it’s bad, so he gets an MRI scan that confirms his suspicions: a torn meniscus, a torn front cruciate ligament, an over-stressed inner ligament and two bruised bones. Ouch.

The injury means that Ferdinand is completely immobilized and therefore housebound. Luckily, he can get some work done on his laptop, but he still has a lot of spare time with nothing to do. So Ferdinand decides to make the best of the situation and tries to  come up with useful innovations – something he enjoys, given his background in mechanical engineering.

While dreaming up inspiration, he gets distracted by an annoying fruit fly. Wait, what? What about that fly?? Why is this still an issue in 2015? Can’t we do something about that? At work, they were also suffering from a local infestation of fruit flies that was annoying and distracting to all of his co-workers.

Ferdinand starts analyzing fruit fly behavior at home, and soon notices that fruit flies might just as well be called ‘garbage flies’. They mostly swarm around the trash can, and an online search for available products yields nothing more than fruit fly traps that are placed near the fruit bowl… What if you put one of these traps in the garbage, would they work any better?

Ferdinand orders several different traps in sets of two and runs experiments by placing one of the set near the fruit bowl  as instructed by the manual – and attaching the other to the inside of the garbage can using a piece of tape. The results are baffling. The trap in the garbage catches between six and twenty times more flies than the one near the bowl.
He’s clearly onto something.

Ferdinand pushes on, looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost solution. He also iterates towards the strongest attractant possible, one which is completely biodegradable and non-toxic.
The end result yields a small trap that fits into your mailbox and works straight out of the package, making it the easiest to use, least in terms of price, most in terms of appearance (it’s hidden out of sight) and, above all, the most effective fruit fly trap available!

Moral of the story: make a virtue of a necessity.

(written in retrospect)