Source: University of Southern Denmark
Promoted by University of Southern Denmark

University of Southern Denmark: What a dynamic summer programme looks like

In the midst of summer’s golden embrace, when the world seems to slow down and the possibilities for fun appear endless, there lies a sunlit path for students to quench their intellectual thirst — and it leads them to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).

Learners from across the globe gather here each year, eager to immerse themselves in a world of learning and cultural exchange. Set against a backdrop of breathtaking castles, lush greenery, and historic wonders, both the charming Odense and the captivating Sønderborg campuses provide the perfect ambience for an inspiring and joyous academic adventure. Both host the annual SDU International Summer School and are home to several state-of-the-art classrooms, where learners deep dive into cutting-edge disciplines under the supervision of visionary professors and industry experts.

Two weeks is all they need to ignite a passion for exploration, sure to stay ablaze long after summer ends. This exceptional gathering of talent fosters an environment where imagination thrives, and dreams of a technologically-advanced future take flight. As a university that specialises in future-focused topics, SDU invites its summer students to pursue four courses within the fields of robotics and drone technology — all of which are offered in Odense.

Through the Introduction to Biologically-inspired Robotics and Learning course, students explore approaches such as embodied artificial intelligence, neurorobotics and biorobotics. They are also introduced to how neurons for sensing and control in the biological brain work, their equivalent models, and how connecting these artificial neurons together to solve a task can build a simple brain for robots.

SDU Robotics has recently expanded its research to include welfare and medical robotics. Source: University of Southern Denmark

SDU Robotics has recently expanded its research to include welfare and medical robotics. Source: University of Southern Denmark

The Robotics: Fundamentals and Applications course provides students with a comprehensive overview of commercially available robots and their diverse application areas through a seamless blend of theory and hands-on experience. Valuable insights into state-of-the-art research activities shaping the future of robotics, both at SDU and on a global scale, await too. The journey begins with the foundational pillars of robotics, including Kinematics, Dynamics, and Control (KDC), and how these theories are applied in real cases, which will be integrated into a mini project.

“I received very insightful training regarding the fundamentals of robotics at a high-quality academic level”, says Diego Hidalgo Cavajal, a robotics student from the Technical University of Munich. “I visited innovative companies in the Danish robotics cluster and was able to expand significantly my global network.”

Another course revolves around designing and building drones for environmental monitoring and sustainable precision farming. Students work in teams of three to four on theory and laboratory exercises focusing on value-sensitive design, drone hardware and software, computer vision algorithms and drone operations. The results lead to a mini project that sees them designing, constructing and operating a multirotor drone and camera payload. Tests and exercises are held at UAS Denmark — the Danish national drone test centre at Hans Christian Andersen Airport.


Source: University of Southern Denmark

Source: University of Southern Denmark

Finally, the Applied Composite Drone Manufacturing course equips students with the theoretical knowledge needed to work with composite materials, sustainable materials, mechanical properties, composite design, drone design, and composite manufacturing technologies. They are then expected to apply their newfound skills by building their own drone.

All four courses transport students across Denmark to visit prominent companies that either develop or use robot technology. Last year, they went to the Funen robot comet Universal Robots and MIR as well as Danish giants such as Novo Nordisk, Danfoss and Lego.

Source: University of Southern Denmark

Summer students can discover the charms of Odense and Sønderborg in their free time. Source: University of Southern Denmark


With such comprehensive training on offer, it’s little wonder why the Elite Robot Summer School quickly sells out yearly. “Internationally alone, we have had more than 200 inquiries from students who would like one of the 25 places,” says professor and initiator of the summer school, Henrik Gordon Petersen.

However, it’s not just robotics courses that capture the curiosity of ambitious learners. Ardent literature enthusiasts, aspiring engineers, curious historians, budding entrepreneurs, and tomorrow’s world-changers find inspiration at the SDU International Summer School, too. Two-week courses abound in Business, Economics, and Social Sciences; Behaviour and Sustainability; Chemistry; Environmental Engineering; Civil and Architectural Engineering; Healthcare Engineering; Innovation and Design Engineering; Manufacturing and Management Engineering; Software Engineering and Computer Science; and Engineering Physics.

Regardless of which route students choose — one thing is for sure: as the final days of summer school draw near, they will leave Denmark with not just a wealth of newfound knowledge but also a piece of the country’s heart in their own.

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