TU Delft secures ten Vidi grants: from non-verbal behaviour to the analysis of 30,000 paintings

News - 13 May 2016 - Webredactie Communication

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants worth EUR 800,000 to ten researchers at TU Delft. Vidi grants are given to experienced researchers qualified to PhD level who are already some years into their research career. A Vidi grant enables them to spend five years conducting research and developing their own innovative line of research.

Here are TU Delft's ten winners of Vidi grants:

Robot support for balance
Heike Vallery (Mechanical Engineering)
The research group aims to develop small, lightweight robotic tools for people with balance problems. New drive mechanisms using gyroscopic technology make this possible. They will be made very light and compact, enabling them to fit in backpacks, footwear or prosthetic legs.

Communicating materials visually
Maarten Wijntjes (Industrial Design Engineering)
Painters know exactly how to communicate materials visually. This could also prove useful to us, for example for online shopping. But how do we gain access to the artists' knowledge? This project will research this by placing 30,000 paintings under a perceptual microscope.

Mechanical vibrations on a quantum chip
Simon Groeblacher (Quantum Nanoscience)
Although mechanical vibrations (phonons) can be used as signals in quantum technologies, this has yet to be demonstrated convincingly. By using specially-designed optomechanical crystals, physicists aim to gain complete control over phonons and link them to light particles (photons) on a quantum chip.

Quality of non-verbal behaviour during networking
Haley Hung (Intelligent Systems)
Research has shown that networking makes a significant contribution to people's professional development and careers. The MINGLE project aims to develop new machine-learning methods that can automatically analyse the quality of social interactions by observing non-verbal behaviour. The research will not only help to develop a better understanding of how people communicate, but also methods for improving this communication.

Effects of suspended solids on granular sludge
Merle de Kreuk (Sanitary Engineering)
Waste water purification with granular sludge has proven very efficient. However, how suspended solids are removed from sewage and possibly broken down by granular sludge is unknown. This study will combine advanced analysis and modelling techniques to comprehend mechanisms of influence of suspended solids on the conversion processes and granular morphology.
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Networks between species of plants, bacteria and fungi
Leo van Iersel (Applied Mathematics)
Relationships between different species of plants, bacteria and fungi form a complex network. Mathematicians will now explore how we can combine knowledge about small parts of these networks into larger networks.

Low-cost materials for clean energy
Wilson Smith (Chemical Engineering)
Storing solar energy could help resolve global energy and environmental problems. This research aims to identify low-cost materials for converting sunlight and water into hydrogen (and oxygen), a clean fuel for the future.

Recreating life brick by brick
Hyun Youk (Bionanoscience)
Complex animals develop from simple molecules. But it remains a mystery how these complex forms of life develop from these simple molecules. The researchers will explore this enigma by sticking together molecules and cells one by one to build living structures.

Data centres made transparent
Alexandru Iosup (Software Technology)
Data centres are factories that produce or host data for our digital economy. The MagnaData project aims to develop techniques that can help engineers to manage large data centres and gain an understanding of how consumers use data services. This will enable data centres to become more flexible and efficient and improve the customer experience.


Quantum computer with less noise
Menno Veldhorst (QuTech)
Despite major advances, a practical quantum computer is yet to become a reality. Physicists are currently attempting to make the building blocks of a quantum computer more reliable. They will do this by tackling damaging noise at the source, reducing the need for cooling and upscaling to an initial quantum architecture.