20 November 2017 • Gideon Wille
Two research projects at THUAS nominated for award
These are exciting times, as THUAS has two submissions nominated for the RAAK award for leading practical research at universities of applied sciences. The result will be announced on 30 November, but in the meantime our two researchers who are in with a chance of winning the award will talk about their research projects.
A lesser known fact among the general public, that thinks that scientific research is the preserve of universities, is that universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands also carry out research. However, at universities of applied sciences, the emphasis lies on application. Perfect examples of this are the two THUAS projects that have been nominated, namely ‘The Perfect Sports Wheelchair’ and ‘Installations 2020’.
The aim of ‘The Perfect Sports Wheelchair’ project is to develop methods to give wheelchair-bound athletes feedback on their performance, so that they can improve. For this purpose, the researchers extensively analysed videos of wheelchair basketball competitions and took measurements using sensors that are fitted to a sports wheelchair. It was important for the researchers to gather the various types of data this way so that it could be used immediately by athletes and their coaches. This technology is currently being used for other wheelchair sports and may be useful for regular wheelchair users. The perfect sports wheelchair has been developed in conjunction with the Netherlands Paralympic wheelchair basketball team, Delft University of Technology and Movement Scientists from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University Medical Center Groningen.
Senior lecturer Monique Berger (Faculty of Health, Nutrition & Sport) is the project leader of ‘The Perfect Sports Wheelchair’. “The strength of our project is that we are bringing together research and education. There are many students involved through work placements and graduation research projects but also through the Sports Technology minor. Furthermore, we have developed something that the sporting profession could use right away and we have contributed to science through two PhD theses. This is an example of a successful partnership between a university of applied sciences and a university. And I am delighted by this nomination. We would like to continue this project as we currently need another researcher to read the data and we want the coach and athletes to be able to do this for themselves. I hope that the nomination will give us this opportunity.”
‘Installations 2020’ researched how you can provide installations with intelligence and self-management by using the millions of data points on our Delft campus. Energy installations are the lungs, heart and arteries of the building, in a manner of speaking. They enable the building to breathe and stay at a constant temperature in order to create a comfortable and healthy internal climate. However, modern installations have become so complex that even the best experts lose their way as malfunctions, incorrect calibrations and energy wastage go unnoticed.
Combating energy wastage
Laure Itard, Head of the Energy & the Built Environment Research Group, was the project leader on ‘Installations 2020’. “I had been thinking about this research for a long time. When THUAS built the Delft campus, sensors were set up everywhere that would record all kinds of data such as temperature, humidity, CO2 and the presence of people. Thanks to this project and together with the lecturers and students, we were able to unlock the data, analyse it and develop diagnostic tools to combat energy wastage. At the same time, we carried out studies that were tailored to the requirements of the building administrators. We also developed a game to share knowledge with students and professionals. It is amazing that we managed to win an RAAK nomination.”
The RAAK awards are an initiative of the National Taskforce for Applied Research SIA (Nationaal Regieorgaan Praktijkgericht Onderzoek SIA) that finances and stimulates practically-focused research in universities of applied sciences. There is also a public award, which you can vote for on this Facebook page.