Researcher of the month Hogeschool PXL

In our ‘Researcher of the month’ section, we give you a small glimpse into the life of a (PXL) researcher every month. This month, an AR/VR expert with a passion for technology, music and art: Maurits Hagemans, researcher at the PXL Building and Energy expertise center.

Name: Maurits Hagemans

Age: 37 jaar

Research area(s): Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR), digitization and photogrammetry.

With my experiences in education, media technology and AR & VR, I joined the PXL Building and Energy Law Expertise Center in 2020, in the AR4SmartMO research team (‘Augmented Reality for Smart Maintain & Operate’). I was able to directly apply my gained experience within the research and many facets were covered of which AR/VR is an important part.

Currently, there is a lot happening in this area and we are seeing a growing crossover with multiple technologies. For example, metaverse, blockchain and artificial intelligence are frequently discussed in the media, but beyond these future disruptive techniques, we are seeing education and various sectors increasingly embrace the possibilities of AR/VR. For example, VR has been proven multiple times to significantly increase learning outcomes through training, empathy and, for example, gamification. It also allows us to visit environments and buildings that are on the other side of the world, or even don’t exist yet at all. It can help us in our daily processes, such as showing us the way with the cell phone, showing important pipes behind the walls or performing work with AR glasses where the specialist looks along from the other side of the world and thus gives directions.

The demand for all these new technologies will only increase more in the coming years. That presents challenges and opportunities. Just think about reducing unnecessary travel. Personally, I want to continue to work to make a contribution that reduces the growing gap in digitalization. Digital illiteracy really shouldn’t increase. Sometimes this is in small things, for example by explaining in ordinary language how a website works or is made.

Your passion(s)? My first passion is music. I have been making music since 2004 and have had the opportunity to play in many places with various bands. Writing music, playing live and releasing music are definitely some of the best things to do. I look forward to doing that regularly again in the future. I also really enjoy going to a good concert. It’s extra nice that I can finally do that again. People sometimes seem to underestimate how healing such moments can be in times like these.

My second passion is art and technology. I enjoy reading about those two topics immensely. Looking at art – in my case especially modern art – and the combination of art and technology I find extra interesting. A good non-fiction book about that, I can completely dive into.

Who is your hero(s) (and why)? That’s a question to which there are many possible answers. Who exactly is a hero to me? Someone who believes in their vision and story regardless of the expectations of others, who makes the world a little better, more beautiful and fairer, and – most importantly – who connects. Music, film and literature have many heroes for me, but one of my latest heroes is Jason Hickel. He is an economic anthropologist and has taught me about a deeper layer in our Western economic history. He is involved in several initiatives and is, for example, an advisor for the European New Green Deal.

Your menu tip for PXL Catering? For quite some time – about five years – I have been a vegetarian. I am, of course, a great lover of good food, and this step only made it better. That extra step, which is sometimes necessary in comparison to conventional cuisine, is doubly rewarded. And fortunately, at PXL catering, that’s no problem at all. There are delicious, varied vegetarian dishes, especially on Campus Elfde Linie. My compliments on that! So my menu tip: definitely choose something vegetarian sometime….

Contact: maurits.hagemans@pxl.be