Jelle Demanet

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The milestone of Jelle Demanet

As a cognitive scientist and manager of the Human Interface Technology Lab, Dr. Jelle Demanet explores how VR technology can solve problems facing society. “VR goes way beyond just gaming. It can help you make a positive impact on society.”

Revolutionizes healthcare via virtual reality

The Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab) is not limited to working with virtual reality (VR) but also embraces augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). VR, AR and MR fall under the broader scope of extended reality (XR). As Jelle explains: “XR has great potential to help with rehabilitation. With rising costs and medical staff remaining in short supply, future rehabilitation may often happen at home. XR's gamification makes rehabilitation more fun. What's more, the generated data allows you to track your progress, which motivates you to keep going.”

“We bridge the communication gap between developers and healthcare professionals.”

HITLab's mission involves uniting game developers and healthcare institutions to create XR applications. “To unlock the full potential of XR technology in healthcare, we start by listening attentively and gaining a deep understanding of the sector's challenges,” Jelle clarifies. “We then develop a prototype of the application and promptly put it to the test within hospitals. The hospitals can propose improvements or new features. It’s our way of bridging the communication gap between developers and healthcare professionals.”

Jelle Demanet

A pioneer with a rich history

“The reason why I'm so fascinated by XR is because it works so intuitively. Believe me, a VR headset is easier to use than a smartphone. People think in three dimensions, but we've learned to do everything in two dimensions, on paper or using a screen. XR technology, by contrast, allows us to work in 3D. And that opens up so many interesting applications for healthcare, such as simulating risky and uncommon medical procedures, for instance, or for recreating specific situations with patients without having to hire actors.”

“An entire conference in VR? No thanks.”

For uncovering the untapped potential of XR in healthcare, conferences are the place to be. “Take, for instance, conferences on occupational therapy or child rehabilitation. They offer insights into the challenges professionals face, helping us figure out how XR can provide a solution. In turn, it's gratifying to see how our real-world XR applications can inspire others. Flanders boasts a rich healthcare heritage and is a pioneer in the field. This mix of tradition and innovation makes organising conferences here particularly interesting. I also think a mix of online and offline events is crucial. Frankly, I'm not a fan of entirely VR-based conferences.”

The world’s finest game developers

HITLab operates under the umbrella of Howest University of Applied Sciences. It has close ties especially with its Digital Arts & Entertainment program, which has repeatedly earned the title of the world's premier gaming school by The Rookies. “That's not only an important milestone for the school, but also for HITLab,” Jelle admits. “The graduates from this program are the ones who possess the skills to create our XR applications. I want to show them that they can do more than just develop games. They can make a positive impact on our society. Until a few years back, many young talents aspired to work in the gaming industry, considering it their dream job. However, nowadays, I'm witnessing a growing number of exceptionally talented individuals choosing to join our ranks, which, to me, is an even more momentous milestone.”

“Until a few years back, many considered working in the gaming industry as their dream job. Nowadays, more and more talented people are joining us instead.”

Schouwburg Kortrijk - (c) Mark Depaepe

What’s your milestone?

Set it with a conference in Flanders.

Just like Jelle Demanet, as a researcher, scientist, entrepreneur or policy maker, you want to set a milestone. A conference in Flanders can make an important contribution to your goal. It allows you to tap into the passion and expertise of insightful minds, bringing you another step closer to achieving your own milestone.

As a service of VISITFLANDERS Convention Bureau, our experts reflect together with you on the positive, long-term impact of your conference. Want to know more about this exclusive service, free of charge for your association? Click the button below.

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