Quest projects

Multidisciplinary projects

Graduate students from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Management and Mechanical Engineering degree programmes will come into contact with one another in the professional practice. They will have to collaborate to tackle complex problems. HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht wishes to implement this working environment in the programme to prepare its students more effectively for the professional practice.

In the third year of study, in addition to the programme-specific content courses, Quest projects are carried out over two periods. The student collaborates in a team with colleagues from the other degree programmes at an external client’s premises. The student is challenged on two fronts. He will be required to translate the client’s complex problem definition into a research plan.

In addition, he will have to coordinate the research project with the students of other degree programmes in such a way that all aspects that are relevant to the assignment are included in a structured manner. The implementation of the multidisciplinary projects will be a ‘quest’. There is no tight schedule and/or preconceived plan. Hence the name, Quest Projects.

Selficient and Solar Decathlon

The Selficient project started a few years ago as a Quest project and has since grown into a versatile project of HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in which many new degree programmes and external parties have become involved.

In 2017, the Selficient student team signed up for the international sustainability competition, Solar Decathlon 2017, in the USA. The students earned seventh place in the finals with their self-designed energy-neutral home. The team also earned second place for “Market Potential” and third place for “Water Efficiency”, as well as the Audience Award.

The most important aspect of the design is its modularity. The standardised elements, such as the frame and the roof, form the basis of the design. The house is easily adaptable thanks to the basic elements that make it possible to attach or detach different components. The house grows with the housing needs of the residents and bulk production means the basic components can be marketed at competitive prices. This makes the Selficient house sustainable, innovative and affordable for all social classes. The team was awarded 80 out of 100 points for the concept’s architectural design and adaptability.

Solar panels generate all the energy required in the house. This energy is stored in the house for own use. If the resident has energy left over, it can be shared with others. The temperature inside the house is regulated by a heat pump. The floor is fitted with tubes that carry hot water to heat the floor in a fuel-efficient manner. The shower makes use of a unique concept in which the drain water is filtered and reused. This efficient water system was awarded third place.

The Dutch student team returned to the Netherlands at the end of 2017. The idea is to rebuild the Selficient house, this time at Utrecht Science Park. Interested parties can visit the sustainable house here. The Dutch building industry has already shown interest in implementing this sustainable building concept. The concept of the Selficient house – flexible, energy neutral and affordable – can make a serious contribution to the sustainability of Dutch housing, while also helping to achieve Dutch climate goals.

Quest students develop multi-purpose sensor

Students of the Hogeschool Utrecht have developed a sensor that can measure a multitude of values: light, temperature, humidity and air pressure. The students also developed an app that can show all of the measured values.

Other examples of Quest projects

More than 250 Quest projects have been realised by more than 1,000 students over the past few years. The following is a selection of the different projects.

Project Powertools

Project description

A tool that helps people with autism make contact with others. Project in collaboration with healthcare institution Philadelphia.

Project Airdrum

Project description

Electronic device consisting of multiple sensors to scan hand movements in the air and to trigger drum sounds.

Project 3D Medical Printing

Project description

Project in collaboration with Utrecht Medisch Centrum for 3D scanning and printing.

Project 3D Braces

Project description

A brace for people with scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine). Modern techniques can optimise the production of a brace.

Project Smartmoves

Project description

A “game tool” that stimulates movement to help children with cancer to keep moving was developed in collaboration with the UMCG. Two students set up a start-up to MoveMat continue to work on their concept.

Project Utrecht Campus bikes

Project description

Utrecht Science Park wants to increase accessibility. One of the initiatives is the Campus Bike project. The students researched its use and public recognition shortly after the introduction of the project.

What are the conditions that a Quest project must fulfill?

A Quest project aims to solve a particular business problem. This involves the following properties:

  • Multidisciplinary, includes research elements for at least two of the three degree programmes.
  • Preferably an assignment related to at least one of the four themes of the Institute for Engineering & Design (see below).
  • The client must be able to provide support for approximately 24 hours during the term of the project.
  • It is preferable for more than one team to work with the client.

The themes of the Institute of Engineering & Design

HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht wishes to develop expertise in four knowledge areas that are socially and locally relevant. This gives the student a unique opportunity to gain experience in an area of personal interest and also offers the student additional credits in the employment market.

The Areas of Expertise/Themes are:

  • Rapid Technology
  • Sustainability
  • Medical Technology
  • Asset Management