A dog robot comes out of a warehouse, a little car – with embedded sensors – quickly follows. Entering the building, two kids are controlling them, guided by those who developed the two robots. Both children follow the instructions closely, mastering the commands in just a few minutes. Four years since the last edition, the High Tech Campus Eindhoven – HTCE – has opened its doors to more than 7500 visitors, with demonstrations and events across its entire area.
On June 11th, over 50 companies welcomed visitors and showcased their technologies and gave attendees the chance to try them out. From virtual reality – VR – to medical scanners and inspection robots, adults and children could get a sneak preview of the technologies of tomorrow. Most of the activities were targeted at kids, so that they could learn about the principles behind the innovations that their parents are working on.
This year’s motto was Turning dreams into reality. The dreams of yesterday today became reality in an environment hosting over 12.500 employees divided over 260 companies.
“We didn’t know what to expect, after so many years without this event. I’m surprised because the campus is really busy and the atmosphere is great. It’s nice to see a lot of families and children here today, it feels like we’re back to normal again,” said Ingelou Stol, HTCE communication manager, during the event.
Spread out over five different zones, visitors could move around the campus and hop on the PSV Eindhoven’s players bus. The most passionate fans of the Lampen – the lightbulbs – could also pose with the KNVB trophy won in April outside of the HTCE conference center.
Robots and sports cars
The conference center was at the core of the red zone. Kids and adults could listen to the fairy tale about the HTCE. They could also learn more about robots and VR. Max from Force Fusion wore a special body suit. “It detects my movements, transferring them to the robot that then copies the way I move.”
This is where kids learned more about robots and VR, while adults could try a safe driving simulator by AON. For motorsport fans, the DS Techeetah‘s team Formula-E car could be seen outside of the center.
On the other side of the Strijp, Philips prepared a tour in which visitors could learn more about the latest innovations in medical devices. In particular, the company is working on an app for reducing maternal and perinatal mortality rates. The Netherlands has relatively high numbers in comparison to other EU countries, with mainly higher mortality rates amongst migrant women.
“Through this simple app – available in 7 languages – women can self-report symptoms in real-time by tapping them into the app. Then, the algorithm identifies and flags risk, providing information to healthcare personnel, ” explains Peter Lovei, design researcher at Philips.
Wearables for monitoring patients, a new monitoring system for babies, and a doctor in the cloud system were also presented. In the hallways of Philips’s HTCE headquarters, visitors could also try the latest bioscanners, posing for just a few seconds to get a quick health check. The nearby company Signify welcomed its visitors in their cinema room, showing them how light is created.
Robot dogs and remotely controlled cars
The blue zone was where the 5G hub was located. There, VodafoneZiggo and Ericsson displayed all the different possibilities available with the fastest networks. A robot dog and a remotely controlled car welcomed guests into the space. Visitors could also try being at the wheel and piloting the robots, which have been designed for inspection and control purposes.
In addition, augmented reality and virtual reality-related technologies were part of the exhibition too. One of the demos presented a solution that lets patients form elderly care facilities feel less lonely. With the help of a VR visor, they were able to meet up with their relatives in an immersive video environment.
Fishing rods and winning bikes
By contrast, Shimano gave its visitors the chance to experience something more practical: fishing. In its HTCE headquarters – and on the campus’ lake – visitors could try out fishing rods.
Apart from that, guests could explore the company’s history and the latest innovations. These kinds of innovations are behind the success of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel’s wins in the major cycling competitions.
In the fifth zone – the green area – visitors could take a walk in the campus forest. “A lot of people think the campus is still closed. On days like this, we show what’s going on here. We show people how amazing technology is and what you can do with it,” Stol explains.
This year’s edition saw a rise in the participation of companies as well. A career fair was also part of the event. But there is more than that. “A lot of people didn’t work at the office for quite a while. It is also an opportunity for employees and their families to learn more about the company and the environment they are working in,” concludes Stol.