Looking back at the final of the Brabant Robot Challenge 2018

Of course, Mrs. Van Veldhoven (81) stole the show during the final of the Brabant Robot Challenge. The jury found that the winning team was very clever to involve her in this province-wide competition, in which two universities of applied sciences and two universities took part. She gave students' efforts to improve care a human face. The six teams came up with many more clever things to admire over the previous few months. A look back at the sizzling final afternoon at the Vision, Robotics & Motion exhibition floor in Koningshof Veldhoven.

Neurosurgery

"Hello, we're the jury. We'll make a final round of all the teams before you present yourselves. Is there anything else you want to tell us now?" Chair Ineke van Kruining and her fellow jury members clearly surprise the students moments before they were going to hold their carefully prepared pitch on stage. But they won't let themselves be defeated. “Well, we noticed that robotization in surgery is not as optimal as we thought it would be in any case. There is still a lot to be developed,” coming from the group that considered the question of whether the Neurosurgery Brabant group should invest in an operation robot in the Elisabeth TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg, and if so, which one. Their advice to the specialists: wait a while for the developments to continue or go for a robot that can be used in various operations. And then mostly to be involved in the further development of this robot. Their recommendation sounds authoritative, they have studied the subject considerably. What they learned from the competition? The answers follow in rapid succession: "So much: about robots, surgery, care, pharmacy."

Sick building

"Hello, we're the jury. We'll make a final round of all the teams before you present yourselves. Is there anything else you want to tell us now?" Chair Ineke van Kruining and her fellow jury members clearly surprise the students moments before they were going to hold their carefully prepared pitch on stage. But they won't let themselves be defeated. “Well, we noticed that robotization in surgery is not as optimal as we thought it would be in any case. There is still a lot to be developed,” coming from the group that considered the question of whether the Neurosurgery Brabant group should invest in an operation robot in the Elisabeth TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg, and if so, which one. Their advice to the specialists: wait a while for the developments to continue or go for a robot that can be used in various operations. And then mostly to be involved in the further development of this robot. Their recommendation sounds authoritative, they have studied the subject considerably. What they learned from the competition? The answers follow in rapid succession: "So much: about robots, surgery, care, pharmacy."

Pitchtraining

The competition, which was a pilot project last year, is already a household name in the province. Two universities of applied sciences (Fontys and Avans) and two universities (TU/e and Tilburg University) take part, and the province is contributing through the Beagle innovation program. The students go out to do practical research, but they also get a pitch training, for example.

Afraid of falling

Centrale24 was the client for this team of Fontys, Avans and Tilburg University students: an organization aimed at people who need care. Centrale24 monitors 6,000 people at home and in institutions. The assignment focused on the 81-year-old Mrs. Van Veldhoven: an older lady who lives independently and wants to keep it that way. Christy Janssen and Jessy Brands, both HRM students: ,, It cannot happen that an elderly person who falls falls down for a longer time because he does not have an alarm button or does not know that anymore. " The solution was found in Kuri, an existing robot of around 700 euros that moves about like a robot vacuum cleaner. If he detects an unusual object on his route, he sends a message to the neighborhood app of which Mrs. Van Veldhoven is a member. If no action is taken, he will scale up within a few minutes to a family member and then to the emergency center. The jury found effective in its simplicity. Mrs. Van Veldhoven, who handed out the prize of 1,000 euros herself to "her" students, is happy with the solution. "I am less afraid of falling with such a robot, and that was what it was all about."

Stage smoke

A bit more futuristic seems to be the use of a drone in a fire. The student team Blue Jay of the TU / e has been involved with drones for some time and investigated what role he can play in this specific situation. This at the request of the Southeast Brabant fire brigade.
In a movie, the students had made it very clear how difficult it is, even in a simulated situation with white stage smoke to find any injured. A drone can "see" and transmit images with sensors, but can also warn against sudden temperature rises, open central locks or close doors to keep the fire "inside". Because the elderly are slightly more at risk of fire, a drone in their housing complexes could be a solution. But on this occasion the students also wanted to make a call: ,, We are shocked that at least one third of households in the Netherlands still do not have a working smoke detector. Start with that! "

Exoskeleton

At Van Neynsel, also a care organization in Den Bosch, people are worried about the physical strain of the employees. Lugging and lifting gives them all kinds of complaints. The students think that an external skeleton, so far mainly used in industry, can help. “An exoskeleton can take over 40 to 60 percent of the muscle power,” says Fontys team member Sylvia Hillen. They have also presented this solution to the caretakers, who are happy with it, but: “They don't want it to be at the expense of the atmosphere. It can create a very industrial feeling if they walk around in a suit like this all day," says Christan Valk, Fontys student in applied gerontology.

For the daily distribution of medicines, a process that takes a lot of energy and is error-prone, the students have devised an automated locker per apartment for the medicines for the whole week. “A lid opens automatically when someone has to take their pills.” What these students in this very varied team (human technology interaction, applied gerontology, HR, and philosophy) have learned above all is: working together. “One person thinks of something, the other seeks out whether it is technically possible. You learn so much from that.”

Eye Career

All these solutions improve the lives of people in need of care or who are particularly vulnerable, and make the work of caregivers and aid workers easier. And to a certain extent they are taking over that work; just as in all other sectors, automation and robotization costs (and creates) jobs. There is a great deal of pressure for automation in the health care sector because the population is ageing and therefore more and more care is needed, while costs are rising. If you work or want to work in health care, it is therefore important to know how easily computers or robots can take over.

Lo and behold, a student team is working on that too. Commissioned by the province, with the concrete question: how can you prepare people for the robotization of the labor market? Eye Career is the answer: fill in your profession and see at a glance how likely it is that the robot will take over your work or part of it. As the students explained to the jury, they based themselves on a large set of competencies that you have to have for different professions. “It's a tool that can warn you,” the students say, “so that you can choose another profession in time. Or retrain to become a robotics specialist, for example.”