High-tech safari: 'we love content'

News | 21 May 2019

With professorships on deep learning and visual intelligence by BD and Philips in the morning program and in the afternoon everything about antennas and electromagnetic radiation door ASTRON and Ziuz

Dion from Hardenberg, Alexander from Meppel, Rik from Vries and Geert from Veenwouden study in Twente and visited our companies for the first time. With a blush on his cheeks, Geert confessed that he had no idea about the beautiful high-tech companies in the Northern Netherlands. ,,And also next door in Drachten, I really didn't know these companies were here. I'm only focused on Twente and Eindhoven.” The Twente students provide proof of the need to beat the drums more as joint high-tech companies. Not with show and party, but with a substantive program. That is what the almost 50 students were presented with. With pizza afterwards. 

,,I didn't know that 'connected' had already been implemented so far'', Dion reacts to the visit to the Philips factory in Drachten. He is surprised by the size of the factory and the innovations that come from there. For example, the degree of connectivity of the Philips products to give the user the best possible product experience. The 100 percent automated production line at BD also impresses. Students notice that this production line was built to perform tests and train professionals. Rick hadn't expected that. “I thought training was mostly done inside, but I love what they do here at BD.” 

Piles in the landscape

The students come for content, so they get content. At ASTRON David Prinsloo, antenna design engineer at ASTRON for three years and born and raised in South Africa, explains how to make an All-Sky antenna. “Because that's what we do, make antennas that can see as much of the sky as possible. So not just the visible stars, but everything in space.” Prinsloo explains LOFAR. Poles in the landscape, held up by antenna cables on a grid, placed in the Netherlands and other countries that together form the largest radio antenna in the world. In a lecture, he explains everything about low-frequency antennas in detail. How they work, what you have to take into account and most importantly, what you can do with them. 

Radio astronomy is the main purpose why ASTRON makes these antennas. But there are more applications. For example, indoor base stations for next generation G5. Prinsloo shows a copy developed by ASTRON. “These antennas could not be made before, but with new 3D printing technology and Direct Metal Laser Sintering it is possible. These high-performance antennas can handle the growing amount of data we use with the internet of things.”  


Of a completely different order, but certainly no less interesting, is the lecture by Dries Pruimboom, software engineer at Ziuz. He introduces his employer as a software company in the beautiful small Frisian town of Gorredijk that started with applications to detect child abuse and is now great at recognizing medicines and supporting doctors in making a diagnosis. 

Pruimboom explains how the IRIS works, a device that works with visual intelligence in which a double camera scans pills. "To ensure that people take the right medicines." The machine had to be tested almost ready for production. Then it is discovered that the device produces disturbing radiation. A riddle for Pruimboom and his colleagues, not an electrical engineer but software engineers. "So when we opened the box we saw hundreds of wires and fuses that we didn't understand." After some help and some research, the camera itself turned out to be the culprit. According to the manufacturer impossible. So something else had to be thought of. ,,That has become a housing for all electronics, with a special signal filter that stops the radiation.'' Now the camera works perfectly.


Afterwards, Alexander gives free feedback on the high-tech safari while eating a pizza slice. “We are technicians. That's why I'm not that interested in manager talk. I want to hear the stories of engineers and the people on the shop floor who do the work. In that respect, I came into my own today.”