Magazine articles

Realizing futuristic realities

Text: Emmie Knoester Media: Yvonne Bruin Graphics: Anne Jenster

Curious to discover the future of live acts, performances and music and situated in a tech-focused region, pop venue the Effenaar initiated Smart Venue. As part of Smart Venue, Effenaar collaborates with many partners on projects exploring new technologies.Sitting on Strijp-S, enjoying the sun on a February afternoon, we find ourselves discussing design with Meike Fleskens. For the past five years, beginning in the start-up phase, she has been working at Manus VR. The Eindhoven based company focuses around gloves for virtual reality applications, bringing your hands into the virtual space.


Project manager Stephanie van den Hurk explains, “We work on prototyping, testing and see how visitors react. It is very cool that we can test during our events.” Smart Venue connects different parties, facilitates with equipment, space and knowledge and brings new ideas to life in demos.

Emotional brain waves

“We mainly focus on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). We also work with sensors. It’s often seen by musicians who work with different sensors to control their music. It’s not a new technique, but sensor applications such as gloves and MIDI controllers change the musician’s performance on stage.” Related to that, Smart Venue works with sensors focused on biofeedback. “For example, in collaboration with TNO, we worked on monitoring brain waves and heart rate to get insights in emotions.”

A new direction is 4D filming. “Within half a year we will have the possibility of a green screen studio in which you can film full circle. It can be used for building up a library of objects or artists performing at the other side of the world, you name it.”

Flying dinosaurs

Stephanie elaborates on their collaboration partners, splitting it up in three main groups.

Smart Venue did numerous projects with musicians, both individual artists as well as pop bands. “We worked with three bands from this region but now are also starting to work with ‘The Overslept’, a nationally known band. With one band we worked on a scannable record sleeve out of which the band would pop up in 3D, playing music. During their live performance, we realized a scannable backdrop out of which a life-size dinosaur would fly through the venue.”

Via Brainport, a lot of different companies come to the Effenaar. “The companies come to explore the possibilities of new technologies and see how it can strengthen their company.” Via network events with talks and demos, they can experience the field of virtual and augmented reality.“A third focus group are students working on different design cases.” As part of the Transformative and Inclusive practices squad at our faculty, it is possible to work on design cases from the Effenaar. Students are now working on a case from Warner Music focused on the branding of streaming. Previously, two graduate students (Fontys, NHTV) collaborated with Dutch Rose Media to develop the AR escape room ‘Strings of Life’, a mystery about the death of Elvis and the ‘27 Club’.

The future Effenaar might look way different than we know it now. “I think it will be quite futuristic. After mobile phones were introduced, the use became normal very quickly, I think the same is going to happen to VR and AR.” So, in the future, we might put in some lenses when arriving at the pop venue and immerse ourselves in a whole new augmented experience at the Effenaar.

The AR escape room ‘Strings of Life’ is open for public, students get a 20% off with discount code: ‘SmartUNiD’. It can be booked via:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.