Former student Martijn developed innovative sound technology

Picture this: you are in a train station and your train has been delayed. “Dear passengers,…” you hear through the speaker. “The train to Rotterdam has a fi.. minu... del...” The rest of the message is inaudible. Especially for people with hearing problems, it is very important that the speakers are properly calibrated. Martijn van Essen, a former Electrical and Electronic Engineering student, helped to calibrate the technology to make announcements easier to understand. He won a thesis prize for his project and has now found a job where he can further apply his knowledge.

“I’ve always been interested in technology. At the age of 16 I wanted to become a light technician. In my graduation thesis I discussed sound technology.” Martijn only learned about his nomination for the thesis award at his graduation ceremony at THUAS. A few weeks later he actually won the prize. “The content of my thesis is quite challenging for non-technical readers. According to the jury I did a good job in making a difficult topic more accessible. The prize was a great surprise to me.”

Camera and microphone 

Good audibility. Very important at a train station. But also in a meeting room of course. Martijn: “I am currently developing software for large meeting spaces. For example, a council chamber or a conference hall. Every seat at the table has a button and a microphone. If you want to speak, you press the button to turn on your microphone. My software communicates with that audio system. When you press the button, it not only turns on your microphone, but the camera will also pivot to you. So when you start to speak, people can also see you.” In his current job he is able to implement everything he learned at school: “Analysing assignments and breaking them into smaller components. Then tackling these piece by piece.”

From nothing to a prototype

“I chose this job because it gave me the freedom to independently develop hardware and software. The best part about my job is to take my initial idea and create a first prototype. Then I further develop that prototype into a product that can be sold.”

Martijn is still fairly new in his position. But he notices that his input is taken seriously. “I have already been asked to contribute to solving a problem outside of the scope of my own projects. People found my input very interesting and it was useful to them. I was very proud of that. The expectations here are much higher than at school. So it’s wonderful to see that your contribution is greatly valued.”