A digital MBO Discovery Journey!

News | April 28, 2021

A virtual meeting was organized for MBO students who study in the direction of ICT at one of the ROCs in the north, the MBO Discovery Journey through Collaboration North with the aim of inspiring the students and providing information about the possibilities for further study or finding the right internship or job.

This digital event provided a glimpse into the IT world. MBO'ers who are already working in IT told about their experiences and successful entrepreneurs gave a glimpse into their world and workInnovatiecluster Drachten gave a good picture of the innovative high-tech companies in the north. 

Bad ideas are good

During the introduction Rico Bakker took the students into 'the power of a bad idea'. By this he meant that by asking the right questions and focusing your attention on something else, you are able to be truly innovative. He showed how you can turn limitations and bad ideas into a breeding ground for innovation.

Why don't things always go well and Teslas crash?

Marc de Bruin, who works at RDW and is responsible for type approvals and exemptions, including for self-driving vehicles such as Tesla, showed in his speech how a Tesla can still crash. This car is packed with all kinds of tools to make driving easier. But the system is not 100% reliable yet.

It appears that much is still being tested on computer technology and intelligence. A demo showed what information the computer in the car processes and what conclusions the vehicle connects to the images from the cameras around a Tesla and why those conclusions are actually 'logical'. There are still too many factors why a mistake is made by the Tesla and why you as a driver still have to be alert. But who knows, this will all be resolved in the future….

Man and machines are merging

Joost Krebbekx, program manager of Innovatiecluster Drachten gave a presentation about the connection with the world through autonomous high-tech systems, such as the Tesla or, for example, the Amazon robot cart that brings packages to the door (Last mile delivery).

'Man and machines merge', said Joost, who was able to substantiate this on the basis of specific examples.

ICD is connection with the world through autonomous high-tech systems
Joost Krebbekx at MBO Discovery trip with Collaboration North

Arms and hands

When we look at humans, we have come a long way in technology with a replacement or at least extra help for our senses. For example, we have 3D printed hands to pick up products on the assembly line. These hands can move faster because the material and construction is much lighter, but you can also solder and screw with a safe robot hand (so-called Cobot).


The 'eyes' in the digital world are cameras with which we can make automatic observations. To see if something is right or wrong, for example. We can make observations with special night vision goggles and debug with detection cameras for pills or detect bacteria based on recognition, saving lives.


Sensors have been developed as 'nose' with which, for example, the milk quality can be measured and also the health of the cow. Or a multisensor space telescope with a radius of 300 km that allows you to look deep into space. And from space we can study the earth with very advanced instruments by means of satellites. 

And then there are 'noses', sensors that take glass measurements. Glass splinters, which could potentially jump out on the inside, are seen right through molten glass. This prevents you from getting glass splinters when you drink a beer. 


3 photos are quickly taken of each bottle with an eye sensor that filters out the wrong bottles in this way. The storage of all these photos can be seen as the brain, given the amounts of data used in such a computer.

But we can also compare Astron's satellite dishes with our brains. One satellite dish already collects more information in a year than the entire internet in the Netherlands put together. And Philips has its own health cloud with data storage where millions of IP addresses of users are stored, which are used to study health patterns.

Feet and legs

As a replacement for our feet and legs, there is a so-called exoskeleton. This is an external skeleton that can support people with movement and with which extra things can be done that a person normally cannot, such as lifting 450 kg. 

And in transport we increasingly see automated guided vehicles that transport goods in the factory. 

mouth – speech

When it comes to speech, you will soon be able to contact the RUG for a Master Voice technology. This study is about controlling systems through speech or vice versa: the system talks to you. For example, many more developments in the field of human machine interfaces are underway.

The future is closed

If you are interested in these techniques, but also in social problems, then you are at the right place at our high-tech companies of the Innovatiecluster Drachten. In this way we can jointly tackle a number of social problems such as hunger, health, the quality of water, clean energy, climate action, but also in the field of peace and good security. 

And all of this in the Northern Netherlands: the future (yours) is closer than you think!

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