Graduating the traditional way, by writing a thesis, is always an option, but there are other ways as well. A number of students are working at the Digital Society Hub (DSH) in Zernike on various projects for Politie Noord-Nederland, the regional police force. We went to see what exactly they were up to.
‘There is a total of about 55 students working on assignments’, said Annelies Kruisweg, project manager for the Noord-Nederland police force’s innovation house. ‘That includes both work placement students and students who are preparing to graduate.’ While the students are working on different projects, each project is focused on applying the latest gadgets to police work.
When we have to break down the door to see whether someone is all right, it can cause a lot of chaos
This leads to some pretty cool projects, such as 25-year old student Tim Streefkerk’s concept. He is designing a reconnaissance robot for his Industrial Product Design degree programme. The guiding principle is that the robot can enter spaces without the police having to go in. Fabian McKenzie, policeman and innovation house supervisor, cites as an example the suspicion that a neighbour has passed away. ‘When we have to break down the door to see whether someone is all right, it can cause a lot of chaos’, he said. It also costs a lot of money, and in some cases is completely unnecessary.’ The police can send the robot in through the letterbox and use a remote control to operate it. At the same time, the remote control displays a live feed from the camera inside the robot.
Tim Streefkerk demonstrates his reconnaissance robot
The innovation is taking place at the DSH on the outskirts of Zernikepark. A laboratory for innovation, but on a small scale. The heart of the building is a large, open space where the signature orange colour of Hanze University of Applied Sciences is prominently visible. The space is divided into different work areas, where multiple enterprises (including Politie Noord-Nederland) collaborate with students on innovation. It’s remarkable that these enterprises have joined forces to achieve a better final result.
Crime Scene Investigation, but with the help of Hanze students
One of these projects is Talking Crime Scenes, Kruisweg explained. ‘Two groups of students are working on this project in cooperation with KPN. They are working on how to collect and use sensor data from a building when a crime has been committed, allowing you to measure when there was movement in a space.’ Crime Scene Investigation, but with the help of Hanze students.
According to Kruisweg, innovation within the police force is important. ‘The world is changing rapidly, especially in terms of society and technology. If we want to innovate, it’s important that we work together with parties with expertise in specific subjects. That’s what brought us to Hanze University of Applied Sciences. We have interesting topics for the students, and the Hanze has many extremely bright students who can quickly make significant contributions to police innovation.’