ASTRON launches testing ground for entrepreneurs

In the media | March 24, 2022

To increase our knowledge of the universe, ASTRON is constantly pushing the boundaries of technology in its radio telescopes. Now, we are making this expertise available to enhance the innovative power of entrepreneurs. To this end we have launched the Wireless Data Lab (WDL), a living lab through which ASTRON will make its knowledge and facilities in the field of wireless data transfer available to the business community and other institutions.

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Ronald Halfwerk, Technology Transfer Officer of the WDL: "With the Wireless Data Lab we close the gap between science and industry. With this living lab we support and inspire entrepreneurs to innovate in the wireless field. We think along with entrepreneurs and help them to test the wireless applications developed by them." Wireless Data Lab we close the gap between science and industry. With this testing ground we support and inspire entrepreneurs to innovate in the wireless field. We think along and test the wireless application they have developed with entrepreneurs.”

Nico Ebbendorf, project leader of the WDL: "Our test lab is right in between a development lab and an accredited laboratory for measurements and research in the field of wireless technology and quality control. The Wireless Data Lab is well suited for the early phase, where the question is: 'Can we invest safely?', or 'Is our idea technically feasible?’ without having to pay high costs up front for certification and facility use. That's why we like to welcome to our lab companies that are in their product development phase."

Case studies

We make our knowledge and technology and their application available to society, such as to entrepreneurs working on or with wireless applications. This supporting of companies has already led to some good results and added value. We give two examples:

Sander de Jong, Lead Development Engineer at XPAR Vision: "One of our customers in the US ran into a problem where one of our sensors occasionally malfunctioned. We couldn't replicate the problem ourselves. We presented our problem to the people of ASTRON, for whom the description of our problem without all kinds of details was enough to work with. After a few sparring sessions, the ASTRON staff was able to isolate the flaw. After that we were able to help our customer remotely to solve the problem."

Dion Kant, founder and CEO Hunenet B.V.: "From the outside, I can imagine the industry thinking: 'Oh, there's that ASTRON institute, that little club on the moors.' But those companies don't realize how accessible the institute is, that you can knock on its door and have access to people in various fields of expertise, whom you can employ to provide support in a variety of projects and problems. The people at ASTRON can relate well to physical processes at companies. For example, Hunenet referred the company Hiber to ASTRON, where this company was able to perform EMC measurements – in collaboration with (knowledge of) ASTRON staff – on their newly developed CubeSat."

ASTRON owns an extensive test laboratory, EMC and antenna test rooms, and technical expertise that can be used by both large companies and SMEs. We also offer courses for companies to gain more expertise in the field of wireless techniques. We deal with issues from all sectors in the field of wireless data transmission and together with companies we search for the best solution to their problems.

The EMC test room at ASTRON in Dwingeloo
The EMC test room at ASTRON in Dwingeloo (copyright: ASTRON) 
The antenna test chamber from ASTRON
ASTRON's antenna test chamber (copyright: ASTRON) 

More information about the Wireless Data Lab can be found in the next video: