Beeld: Zwarte Cross
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The Zwarte Cross kicks off today as the largest paid music festival in the Netherlands and the largest motocross event in the world. Traditionally, there is much more to experience this weekend than just music and motorbikes, which is certainly the case this year. Festival visitors can contribute to developing various innovations over the next few days. For example, by experiencing in virtual reality (VR) what it is like to have dementia or participating in The Digital Data Divide – a festival experience around big data. Innofest will supervise these innovation tests.

  • This weekend is the Zwarte Cross: the largest paid music festival in the Netherlands and the largest motocross event in the world;
  • Visitors can experience what it is like to have dementia in virtual reality;
  • The Digital Data Divide is a festival experience where visitors can discover what the future could look like with the increased role of personal data.

Using virtual reality to experience what it is like to have dementia

It is expected that one in five Dutch people will eventually develop dementia. As people are living at home for longer and longer, the chances of encountering someone with dementia are increasing – whether in the supermarket, on the terrace, or at the hairdresser. Researchers from Avans University of Applied Sciences have developed a virtual reality test case where you can experience what it is like to have dementia in different situations. The dementia experience in VR has already been tested by informal carers and nursing students, among others, and now by the general public at the Zwarte Cross.

Cindy de Bot, associate lecturer Prevention within Nursing Care at Avans University of Applied Sciences, is looking forward to the test days. “By letting people experience what it’s like to have dementia and talk to each other about it, we hope to create more awareness and empathy. You want people with dementia to be able to participate in society for as long as possible. For that, it is important that there is more knowledge about the disease and its symptoms to create a dementia-friendly society,” says De Bot. In addition, the researchers are curious to what extent VR is a good tool for introducing people to a condition like dementia.

VR Dementia will be at Playa Exoticana on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Digital Data Divide: what does the future of data look like?

From health apps to smartwatches, we are collecting more and more data about ourselves. This often makes life more accessible but also more dangerous in some areas. At the festival experience, The Digital Data Divide, visitors can discover a future full of personal data. Will it be a utopia where everything goes perfectly, or will a dystopia await us?

People with backgrounds in gaming, healthcare, research, ethics, and education, among others, were involved in developing The Digital Data Divide. The initiator is Sjors Groeneveld, senior lecturer in Living Technology at Saxion University of Applied Sciences. “We developed this festival experience to explore in a playful and accessible way how to raise awareness about the increased role of data in our lives. This is much needed because in addition to all the benefits, the massive data collection can also have a downside, and there are questions surrounding ethics, privacy, and responsibility,” Groeneveld said. The presence at Zwarte Cross allows the researchers to test the festival experience among a broad and diverse audience. “This way, we can see whether participants are made to think and whether the experience is a good tool to start the conversation about data.”

The Digital Data Divide can be found at Playa Exoticana on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Circular solar panels and mobile batteries for food trucks

In addition, two other innovations will be present at the festival to collect feedback from visitors and crew. Biosphere Solar can be found on the festival campsite. Originating from TU Delft, this startup develops circular and repairable solar panels, combating the increasing waste stream of solar panels. Camping guests can charge their smartphones with solar energy at the Solar Charging Station.

In the backstage area, entrepreneurs from Rent a Battery will be on hand with their PowerTrolley. This mobile and modular 5 kWh battery should provide food trucks with energy, offering an alternative to the polluting diesel generators still often used. During Zwarte Cross, the crew will test how user-friendly the battery is.

All tests are supervised by Innofest and made possible by cooperation partners Regieorgaan SIAGoeie GruttenAvans Hogeschool, and Saxion.