Students at work for cancer patients

Fontys Information and Communication Technology

Students devise enlightening technology for cancer patients (in one week)

A cancer diagnosis is an incredibly intense experience. Patients often end up in a dark place mentally, with a lot of stress, uncertainty and sometimes anxiety about the treatment process, pain and isolation. Can technology make a difference there, as it does in so many places in our lives? During the 'Fix U Pressure Cooker', students will search for solutions in one week.

Fix U is an initiative of the Elizabeth Tweesteden Hospital (ETZ), the foundation and Fontys. The ETZ has already carried out tests with VR immersion, in which an audiovisual experience has a calming effect and game elements ensure relaxation. Although this headset is available to patients, there are many cases where it cannot be used. For example, contraindications, personal reluctance or simply because the threshold seems too high to ask for it due to the pressure in healthcare. This is where the design challenge awaits the students: design a prototype or installation with interactive technology that helps patients in the process.

Pressure Cooker
During the last two years, it was of course a challenge to organise this kind of event. This time, too, it is not easy, explains lecturer Chris Geene: "About 140 students take up this challenge, and although the locations are open, we also have to deal with restrictions that affect group sizes, forms of cooperation and occupation of the rooms. Nevertheless, this is what our training is all about; finding solutions to complex challenges together and preferably with a positive impact." Of course, time pressure is also an element. On Monday, the students started at 1 pm and on Friday, at the same time, the solutions will be delivered. The best idea will win the Impact of Society Challenge Trophy.

Patients on location
Within the Fontys ICT InnovationLab, students work on real issues from the field. This is also the case here, and students interact directly with the stakeholders. In addition to the guidance from coaches, a number of experts and (former) patients will therefore join in during the week to provide feedback. This is extremely valuable, because it really shows the students what all that hard work is for. Lonneke van Vugt-van Ingen, a haemato-oncology nurse at the Elisabeth Hospital and this week's product owner of the project, is enthusiastic: "It's awesome that the students now have the chance to use technology to make a difference for our patients. With their ideas, they can give some quality of life back to people who are having a hard time. An ICT solution with real meaning!

The Fontys ICT InnovationLab is the innovative educational environment of Fontys Hogeschool ICT, where the professional field, research and education come together. You can read more about it here. The Fix U event was initiated by colleague teacher Lennart de Graaf.

Tags: Education