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Meet our pioneer: Luuk Baltissen

In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do this thanks to our pioneers. To meet our pioneer: Luuk Baltissen


In Brainport Eindhoven we change the world because here we develop key technologies that change society. We can only do this thanks to our pioneers. To meet our pioneer: Luuk Baltissen


Who are you?

My name is Luuk Baltissen and I am 21 years old. I come from Dongen but have been living on my own in Eindhoven for a while.

What do you study?

After my bachelor International Business Administration (IBA) at Tilburg University, I started this academic year with my two-year master of Innovation Management at the Technical University of Eindhoven. At first, I did not want to study at TU/e, because in high school I had no affinity at all with computer science and physics, for example. But eventually, I discovered during my bachelor that the future is full of technology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Because there is much more focus on such topics at TU/e, I eventually ended up there.

What student team are you active in?

I am a full-time project manager and PR manager with the student team Blue Jay Eindhoven.

This team develops a drone that is used in evacuations in nursing homes, in the specific case of fire. On weekends and at night there are fewer employees and then our drone can assist them with evacuation. It detects elderly people, interacts and helps them evacuate. He also provides information to the fire department through an app. We are now working on a Livestream, so that the fire department can see in advance what the situation is (how big is the fire, how much smoke is there, are there victims, and so on). This advanced insight saves time and lives because the fire department can respond more adequately.

People sometimes ask whether the elderly are afraid of a drone. And that is a legitimate question. That is why we have monthly meetings with the care institution Joris Zorg in Oirschot. Together with them, we discuss what we can research. This can sometimes be a need of the care institution itself, but we can also discuss our ideas for research. You can think of questionnaires, but of course also of tests, because not everything can be extracted from a questionnaire.

For example, our drone has eyes on a screen, to make it as human as possible. These eyes change to certain emotions in response to the detected reactions of those in need of help. Thus, the elderly are less afraid of the drone.

Also, these meetings are with the local fire department and based on their wishes and ideas we will explore what is possible in the future. For example, think about maps to see where people in need and the drone are located.

What exactly do you do as a project manager?

I discussed with my father that I am somewhat conflict-averse. To deal with this better, the role of project manager seemed right for me. In it, you have to make sure that everything runs smoothly and that people stick to the schedules. If that does not happen, then you have to solve it with them.

Why did you choose Blue Jay Eindhoven?

I wanted to gain practical experience. I am afraid that when I arrive at an employer after my master's I will only have book knowledge without practical experience.

Of course, there are many different student teams, but only Blue Jay Eindhoven dealt with healthcare. I have a lot of affinity with that, because my mother, who is very important to me, has always worked in healthcare.

Therefore, I knew in advance: if no student team does something with health care, then I will study on my own and not join another student team. A student organization or study association was not for me either.

Why do you work full time in this team?

Initially, I wanted to do it in addition to my studies, but it turned out that there is more time in it. In addition, I fulfil two roles, because we had no one for PR. I think participating in a team adds value. I don't want to be able to show potential employers only what I have learned from a book. Practical experience is also very important.

What do you find important about a later job?

When I am on my deathbed, I want to be able to say that I have contributed something to the world. It can be something small or something big. I want to have helped people. That could just be in healthcare because that's where I have the most affinity. But I also hear that it's sometimes difficult in healthcare in terms of bureaucracy and it doesn't seem to pay very well. So maybe I'll work in another sector. But either way, I want to mean something to others. And that is directly focused on people and not, for example, on reducing CO2 emissions for a better environment. That is very nice, but I want to contribute on another level to a better world.

"When I'm on my deathbed, I want to be able to say I've contributed something to the world."

Luuk Baltissen

What do you think about studying and living in Brainport Eindhoven?

Compared to Tilburg University I have noticed that at TU/e there is much more collaboration with companies. In Brainport Eindhoven there is a really good cooperation between business and education. Recently TU/e innovation Space also won the first Dutch Higher Education premium, because of the Challenge-Based Learning. This is unique in the Netherlands and even in Europe. For me, this indeed indicates that here the focus is more on real business issues. In Tilburg, we worked much more based on cases from the study program. That is an essential difference. 

What more would you like to tell (future) students in Brainport Eindhoven?

I would recommend doing something besides your studies. It can be something small, for example in an activities committee at a sports club, or something big, like full-time participation in a student team. I think a sideline activity has three advantages. The first advantage is that you have more intensive contact with your fellow students, which, in my opinion, enhances your student life. Benefit two is that you get in touch with companies, potential employers. You build your network. And advantage three is that you learn more than just the book you get in front of you. Even though it's less at TU/e that you learn from a book, it's always good to do something in addition to your studies.