Biweekly magazine of the Eindhoven University of Technology For news: www.cursor.tue.nl and follow tuecursor on Twitter and Facebook
November 15, 2012 | year 55
3 | Wow! GLOW 3 Smart Highways
4 Is there life after the Bachelor?
5 The echo of light
2 | For Starters
November 15, 2012
Colophon Editor in chief Han Konings
Executive editor Brigit Span
Editorial staff Judith van Gaal Tom Jeltes | Science Frits van Otterdijk Norbine Schalij Monique van de Ven
Staff Nicole Testerink Gerard Verhoogt
Photography Rien Meulman Bart van Overbeeke
Cover Bart van Overbeeke
Translation Annemarie van Limpt (pages 2,3,5) Benjamin Ruijsenaars (page 4)
Layout Natasha Franc
Editorial board prof.dr. Cees Midden prof.dr. Hans Niemantsverdriet Angela Stevens- van Gennip Thomas Reijnaerts Arold Roestenburg Anneliese Vermeulen-Adolfs
Address editorial office TU/e, Laplace 0.40 5600 MB Eindhoven tel. 040 - 2474020 e-mail: email@example.com
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Are we going beyond the Moon this time? Over the past year, the public’s interest in space has seen what I find to be a very pleasant spike. During this year we’ve had a successful rover landing on Mars, the launch of NuSTAR, aimed at finding black holes and studying supernovas, as well as amazing advancements in the private sector, which could lead eventually to a resurgence in space faring (now even energy-drink companies are funding missions to further push aerospace technology). President Obama cleared a couple of years ago in the United States what is known as the “2010
NASA Authorization Act”, effectively boosting their budget in light of plans for future missions. However, apart from Curiosity and NuSTAR, as well as regular visits to the International Space Station, those future missions were shrouded in secrecy. A rumor a couple of months back about a new space station, situated at Lagrange point 2 (orbiting on the dark side of the moon), is slowly being brought back into play. It is no secret that they have big ideas about sending missions to asteroids and even one manned mission to Mars between
2015 and 2030. The buzz around the space community seems to point towards this, and an orbiting space station farther than the moon would be a perfect gateway for missions to the confines of our Solar System. With an eagerness towards space exploration, I for one am excited to be able to experience this in my lifetime. And you should too, because when we look towards the sky, we all see the same, and our differences suddenly don’t seem that important anymore.
Emilio M Automotiv aldonado, student M e Technolo gy from M Sc. exico
Mega grant for functional molecular systems The TU/e division of Molecular Science &Technology, and associated researchers of the universities of Groningen and Nijmegen have been awarded a Gravity Grant (‘Zwaartekrachtsubsidie’) of 26.9 million euro for setting up a research center for functional molecular systems. According to main applicant prof.dr. Bert Meijer, the three universities will get to play an equal role within the research Center for Functional Molecular Systems (FMS). That means roughly a third of the grant will go to TU/e. The center will offer four research programs that focus on development of functional materials, molecular motors, and tiered catalysis, with an emphasis on non-equilibrium processes. Training young researchers will also be an important part of FMS. “This center has sprung from the minds of a group of people who’ve known each other for a long time, and who’ve shaped
this research area in the Netherlands and the world”, Meijer says. “This grant stresses the importance of crossing borders of disciplines and departments.” The participating division of Molecular Science & Technology includes Meijer’s group and those of his colleagues prof. dr.ir. René Janssen, prof.dr. Rint Sijbesma, and prof.dr.ir. Luc Brunsveld. It represents one of the subareas of the TU/e Institute for Complex Molecular Systems. In Groningen and Nijmegen, FMS will also tie in with the multidisciplinary institutes that are already there. The Gravity program of the ministerial department of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has succeeded the Depth strategy research schools program (Dieptestrategie onderzoeksscholen), the last grants for which were awarded in 1998. Six teams of expert scientists have been granted a total 167 million euro for a ten-year period. (TJ)
Cooperative self-assembly of pigments, visualized by the ICMS animation studio.
Brainmatters Psychology is becoming ever more important at TU/e. Technical systems and artifacts, be they games, cars, robots, lighting systems or buildings, are all meant for human end users eventually. It’s essential to know how these users perceive, think, feel, and act. The new human-oriented program Psychology & Technology examines every technical design from a psychological perspective. From now on, Cursor will be taking a closer psychological look at students, teachers, labs, technical artifacts, the workplace, the scientific business, campus, education, and websites.
Since November 6th, my inbox has more or less returned to business-as-usual. Four years ago, while on a sabbatical in the U.S., I took the fateful decision to accept ‘occasional emails’ on behalf of the Obama campaign. Note the word ‘occasional’.
The number of emails that I have received over the past few months on behalf of the campaign has been simply breathtaking. However, the most fascinating aspect was their personal touch. A trove of emails arrived from ‘Barack’, ‘Michelle’ or ‘Joe’, suggesting longtime friendships, and using informal headers such as “Hey,” or “Thank you, Wijnand” or “Wijnand, you’re amazing” (no objection there…). They contained invitations to White House dinner parties and even to Barack’s 51th birthday. Despite the fact that these flattering messages were effortlessly combined with an easy-access ‘donate’-button, these mails did not bother me too much initially. Initially. Byron Reeves and Cliff Nass, two media psychologists from Stanford University, described in their classic book ‘The Media Equation’ how people are suckers for flattery. Whether it’s sincere or insincere doesn’t matter much. Even when a computer gives positive feedback that is overtly random and unsubstantiated - and people are made
Wijnand IJs selsteijn, pr ofessor Co Affect in H gnition an uman-Techn d ology Inte raction
aware of this - they will still feel better about themselves and the computer. The work by Reeves and Nass also inspired the creation of “Clippy” - that cheerful “intelligent” paperclip that would interfere with anything and everything a user was trying to accomplish using Microsoft Word (“It looks like you’re writing a letter…”). Until people got fed up. In social psychology this is called reactance - with a nod to electrical engineering: a negative emotional reaction against rules or procedures that curtail individual freedoms. Slowly but surely, the incoming emails from the Obama team transformed from being flattering to being downright pushy. With an email titled “Do this for Eindhoven”, Jeremy Bird - the National Field Director no less - summoned me to organize support meetings in my neighborhood (I live in Strijp). And Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot sent me a subtle reminder of my zero financial contribution to the campaign: “If you were waiting for the last minute, you’re pretty much there.” I’m happy Obama got reelected, but his campaign should not have lasted one more day.
For Starters | 3
See for more news www.cursor.tue.nl
Prof.dr. Henk Nijmeijer, professor of Dynamics and Control, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Will luminous paint improve highway safety? Cars have been tinkered with enough, designer Daan Roosegaarde decided; it’s time to start working on highways. Last week the (international) media picked up his plans. Glow-in-the dark Lines, Dynamic Paint, Interactive Light, Priority Electric Lanes - they’re all catchy names for an idea to improve the safety and durability of highways by using luminous paint and special paint that only lights up if drivers need warning. According to Roosegaarde, we’re ready for Smart Highways. Can these relatively simple changes really improve the flow and safety of traffic? “It’s perfectly clear highways have to be in perfect condition in order to contribute to road traffic safety”, says Henk Nijmeijer, professor of Dynamics and Control at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Still, I think you’re a bit out of touch if you’re saying our highways are being neglected. Most innovations do indeed concern the vehicles and the roadsides, because that’s currently what people want. Thinking of a perfect highway, people will mostly think of proper lines and
a smooth tarmac. But there are many more ways to improve highways as well as mobility and safety. In Japan, for example, they’re testing rubber roads instead of standard asphalt ones. It’s a major change that could have great advantages.” “It doesn’t sound half bad, the idea of luminous and dynamic paint on highways, but it seems a bit far-fetched to call that a ‘smart highway’. In Sweden, they’re working on ‘i-roads’: roads with sensors that send information to the vehicle and vice versa. The driver is notified about slippery roads, or advised on how to take the third exit on a roundabout. That’s what I’d call a smart highway. I don’t know about that paint. They’re saying it will make street lights obsolete, but is it really safe to have the only illumination come from the tarmac? There’s a reason street lights are placed over the road. And then there’s the issue of the energy supply: in the Netherlands, the sun is hardly reliable. What if it’s overcast and rainy for days on end? Moreover, slippery roads often go hand in hand with snowfall, so if any warning signs were to light up
with that special paint, they’d be covered by snow. It’s a nice idea, but it’s just a little naïve.” “I’m positive highways can be safer still. And I don’t mean just the roads, but the roadsides, too. Just think of the jungle of road signs – they’re not helping drivers at all. It’s the reason we’re currently working on a way to communicate that information in a different way. We’re also developing road sensors that keep drivers updated on the road condition. And, next to a smart highways and smart cars, we’re hoping to be dealing with smart drivers as well. I really don’t know if they’ll benefit from glow-in-thedark highways. They want to start testing the idea near Oss somewhere next year, but I don’t know how large the test area will be yet. Right now, I don’t see Dutch roads light up on a large scale anytime soon.” (NT)
Prof.dr. Henk Nijmeijer. Photo | Bart van Overbeeke
GLOW This week, Eindhoven sees its
7th edition of
GLOW. Theme of this year’s edition is ‘Facades
8 days, the city center will be displaying 20 light installations made by
& Faces’. For
national and international artists, and another
10 side projects realized by several partners.
One of the projects is ‘Shift’, which can be admired at the Smalle Haven. It’s been developed by
18 master students of
Industrial Design at TU/e. Standing on a tiltable platform measuring a little over
14 square meters, visitors can coordinate the light show around them. Last year, the event welcomed some
360,000 visitors to Eindhoven. This
year’s opening weekend, already approximately
96,000 people came to have a look.
A year ago TU/e, celebrating its anniversary, was part of the route. This year, visitors are invited to Strijp-S - dubbed Glow-S for the occasion - boasting another
12 light art
projects of a more playful nature. GLOW can be visited until Saturday, November
17. Also check gloweindhoven.nl (MvdV)
Photo | Bart van Overbeeke
4 | Zoom in
November 15, 2012
Is there life after the Bachelor? Interview | Judith van Gaal Photo | Bart van Overbeeke
Fédérale de Lausanne, the Technical University of Denmark and the Technische Universität München, ed.)
So your Bachelor’s diploma is in your pocket, and then what? Make a journey around the world, find a job in the business community? Or follow a Master’s degree program and obtain your PhD after that, or begin on a design engineer’s program. To streamline ‘everything after the Bachelor’ better, TU/e now presents the Graduate School. Tomorrow, Friday November 16, leader prof. dr. Arjeh Cohen and the ‘directors’ share their view of the Graduate School with TU/e. In Cursor we give a preview of the Bachelor College’s ‘big brother’.
One aspect of many Graduate Schools is that doctoral candidates obtain their PhD within three instead of four years. Are we going to carry that through here as well?
Students who know at an early stage that they want to move on to Automotive, can now follow a Master’s program in that via a so-called Graduate program in order after that to specialize, if they wish, via a doctorate path (PhD) or a design engineer’s program (PDEng). At present TU/e has fifteen such programs, which are called ‘domains’ in the Graduate School. There is a ‘director’ at the head of a domain. In the Graduate School the collections of programs are aligned with each other better, the transition from the Master to further education must proceed more smoothly and TU/e wants to create a more distinct profile for itself with ‘graduate education’. Prof. dr. Arjeh Cohen, dean at Mathematics and Computer Science, was appointed in January as leader of the group that is to sketch the outlines of the Graduate School.
Why the Graduate School and why now? “The Bachelor College will train a new type of engineer, so you get different graduates. It is obvious to continue along the same line. We want to grow, we must grow as a university. We want to get a larger relative share of students in the Netherlands and we need that so as to become an international player. The Graduate School enables us to create a more distinct profile for ourselves. The playing field around us is changing and the pressure from the outside world is increasing all the time. The government
wants to be able to check the quality and will be able to do so better if the organization is as transparent as possible and can be compared with other institutes. There is a lot of pressure for students to graduate within the time allotted, so it is of paramount importance that everything should link up seamlessly and that students should have the least possible delay. Now you frequently get a situation in which a student follows subjects spread over two departments and things regarding the timetable have not been arranged properly. This has to change. One way or another: standing still is not an option.”
The specifications of the Graduate School at TU/e will be slightly different from other universities. Will that not be confusing? “In most Graduate Schools according to the American model it involves the Master and a doctorate. Institutions within the EU mostly decide on the English model, which is limited to the PhD program. The design engineer’s program that we have at TU/e is rather unique. I expect that we can distinguish ourselves with that, so we have to communicate about that with total clarity. We did check, by the way, how Delft and Twente tackled this, how the procedure is at American universities and how the universities within EuroTech deal with this.” (EuroTech is the joint venture between TU/e, Ecole Polytechnique
“No, in principle we won’t. We don’t advocate that as a consultative group about the Graduate School. The quality of research is first and foremost. While it is possible for excellent doctoral candidates to obtain their PhD a bit faster, this would always have to be discussed in conjunction with the supervisor. We are wary of setting it as a standard.”
How will the research schools fit in with this? “The students are primarily ‘our’ students and with them we want to form a community. We regard research schools as providers of lectures, courses, contacts to enhance the extent and depth of disciplines, et cetera.”
What will effectively change at TU/e over the coming months? As a working party we have now especially plotted the main contours, a vision. It implies that Master, PhD and PDEng must fit in with each other better and that we must create a more visible profile for the Graduate School to the outside world. Prof.dr. Arjeh Cohen.
“Now it is up to the rest of TU/e to think along” We do have ideas about the actual concrete details. Thus, we want to realize a certificate program. Students who have done something extra- think of the honors program, mastering certain skills or doing a large portion of another study program- should be acknowledged for that in the form of a
About the Graduate School The fifteen domains within the Graduate School are Applied Physics/Architecture, Building and Planning/ Automotive Systems/Chemical Engineering and Chemistry/Complex Molecular Systems/Computer Science/ Electrical Engineering/Industrial and Applied Mathematics/Industrial Design/Industrial Engineering/Innovation Sciences/Life Sciences and Engineering/Mechanical Engineering/Science Education and Communication and Sustainable Energy Technology. See for more information: http://www.tue.nl/studeren/tue-graduate-school/.
certificate. Those certificates could allow them, for instance, to follow a part of a PDEng program even in the Master phase. This is a complex issue, for that matter, because PDEngs and PhDs are in the employment of the university whereas Master students are not Coaches have to guide students in putting together their studies. Similar to the present option within the Bachelor College, it should be possible for students to choose more subjects, although we want to prevent them from selecting a fun (read: light) combination of subjects. We shall retain the individual study programs. There should be a better vocational orientation within the Master program, while more attention should be devoted to the alignment with the business community as well. Our good interaction with the high-tech industry makes TU/e a very attractive place for study and work. We want to make a course in Dutch skills mandatory for foreign doctoral candidates, because that appears to be considered important by the enterprises around here.”
How long will it be before we can speak of a Graduate School? “It is not as if, just like the Bachelor College, everything has to be realized within a very short time span. We can benefit considerably from the experiences gathered with the Bachelor College. Although there is a strong volition to realize it before the academic year 2013/2014, we definitely don’t want to rush things. We have formulated the basic principles. Now it is up to the rest of TU/e to think along about the further concrete specifications. As was done with the Bachelor College, we are going to set up a taskforce and we invite staff members and students to think along and share ideas tomorrow at the presentation.”
Join the discussion about the Graduate School? You can do so tomorrow, Friday November 16, from 13.00 to 15.00 hours in the Senaatszaal.
Research | 5
See for more news www.cursor.tue.nl
Photoacoustics: the echo of light It is light, used to create sound, which is subsequently converted into images: photoacoustics goes beyond the traditional ultrasound scan. The European FULLPHASE project should lead to a handy photoacoustics scanner with an integrated pulsed laser, which can be used to gauge the risk of carotid plaque, for example. The research group at Cardiovascular Mechanics will be checking if it could actually work.
cells or other particles, depending on the color of light you’re using. Those particles become very hot and expand in no time, after which the surrounding tissue cools them again so they shrink back into shape.” This process creates a sound impulse lasting dozens to up to hundreds of nanoseconds, creating ultrasound with the same frequency five to ten megahertz - as traditional ultrasound scanners. Every tissue type responds differently to different light colors. Because of that, it’s possible to specifically heat certain tissues, and have those light up via the ultrasound that’s transmitted. “By playing around with the color of the light, you can decide to visualize oxygenized blood only”, dr.ir. Richard Lopata adds. He has another example: “Diseased blood vessels contain a lot of fat. Photoacoustics are great for finding exactly where that fat is located and how much it is.”
Tissues can be singled out and lit up
Marcel Rutten and Richard Lopata. Photo | Bart van Overbeeke
Echography with ultrasound is a widelyused method to map the inner human being - think of ultrasounds used on pregnant women. An ultrasound scanner transmits sound waves the body echoes and scatters. The echo waves are intercepted by the scanner, which thus acts as a sender as well as a receiver. Based on the sound waves, special software reconstructs what’s going on within reach of the scanner. The technique is fast, relatively cheap, and has no known side effects. Still, there are some downsides to it. For example, ultrasound doesn’t allow for an easy distinction between various
tissue types. The difference between water, bone, and soft tissue is clear, but ultrasound isn’t great for distinguishing between tumors and healthy tissue, gauging the nature of carotid plaque, or determining the perfusion of muscle tissue. In principle, the latter can be done using a related technique: photoacoustics. With this technique, the sound wave in the body that is to be intercepted is provoked with a short laser pulse. “Instead of high-frequency sound, you send a short, intense pulse into the body”, dr.ir. Marcel Rutten explains. “This light is absorbed by, say, blood
Laboratories have been experimenting with photoacoustics for years, but because of the costs and size of the laser equipment that’s needed, the technique has not made it to hospitals yet. Lopata and Rutten, both assistant professors in the group of Cardiovascular Biomechanics of prof.dr.ir. Frans van de Vosse, are adamant to change that. It’s the reason they’re taking part in a major European project launched last month: FULLPHASE. The project should result in a hand-held photoacoustic scanner that’s easy to use for doctors in hospitals. The TU/e delegation within the FULLPHASE project are in charge of the ‘preclinical validation’, meaning they’ll be testing the equipment on live tissue as well as compare it to traditional ultrasound scans. Out of the seven-million-euro budget they have been granted more than 800,000 euro for the preclinical validation, which is enough for two doctoral candidates and leaves ample leeway for equipment. On top of that, project leader and manufacturer of ultrasound scanners Esaote made sure they have special scanners at their disposal. Lopata: “These enable us to
read raw data, which provides us with more relevant information than the standard images those clinical scanners produce automatically.” Of course, working with laser pulses has its limitations as well. First of all, light has a hard time penetrating our bodies, even infrared light (ranging from 650 to 1300 nanometers) like that of the scanner. Current lasers can’t go deeper than one centimeter below the skin. “The higher the intensity of the light, the deeper you can peer into the body”, Rutten says. “FULLPHASE wants to get to two centimeters.” Because of the limited penetration depth, photoacoustics can only visualize tissue that’s located just beneath the skin. Therefore, the FULLPHASE project is studying skin tumors and rheumatic arthritis in phalanges, for example. The Eindhoven researchers are especially looking at perfusion in muscles and carotid plaque. Lopata: “The latter subject is especially relevant. Should plaque tear, the contents - usually fat end up in the bloodstream and could be transported to the brains, causing a cerebral infarction.” Rutten even goes so far as to say it’s the holy grail of vascular surgery: “In five out of six cases where plaque is removed from the carotid artery, it turns out the risky operation wasn’t necessary because the plaque was stable. Photacoustics provide a quick and easy way to determine whether or not an operation is needed. It’s much faster and cheaper than an MRI of CT scan, images of which require elaborate interpretation by the doctor at that.
It won’t be easy creating a photoacoustic scanner that’s both handy and safe. Although the average laser power doesn’t have to be that great because of the short pulses, the scanner would still require a powerful power supply to include into the handheld device. Lopata: “There’s a risk of the device overheating and harming the sensitive electronics. Besides, doctors should be able to work with it all day without burning themselves.”
Current lasers can’t go deeper than one centimeter below the skin The final problem concerns the high intensity of the laser pulse that’s needed: the heat of the laser could cause burns on the skin. Needless to say, safety is an important issue within the project. Rutten isn’t too confident that final problem can be solved: “Lasers are subject to all kinds of safety regulations, but those were drawn up back when people weren’t fully aware of the effects of pulsed lasers. Because of that they’ve been overly careful, so there’s a risk FULLPHASE either produces a device that can’t be used despite its safety, or the device becoming too safe due to which it loses its clinical use.” (TJ)
Pulsed laser beam
Ultrasound sensors ‘Artist’s impression’ photoacoustic scanner.