The way we work

Knowledge, experience, facilities & infrastructure, funding and regional, national and international networks. In a nutshell, this describes all the main strengths our current activities have to offer. We help our partners in several ways, which can vary from a simple brainstorm session to a complete one stop-shop experience in which we work together from the first idea to the market launch of a solution or publication of joint research.

We are able to offer the following advantages:

1.    A wealth of research and technology expertise 

More than 15 different research groups at the UT are able to address all main aspects of modern robotics. For the development of integral solutions, they are able to address both technological (mechanics, electronics, sensing, control, actuation, human-machine-interaction, materials) and nontechnological aspects (ethical, legal, economic, business and social issues dealing with robotics when introducing them in daily life). Most core research groups are focusing on the design and use of robots that physically interact with their environment, and with people in those environments. Primary application areas lay within the health sector, robotics for industrial maintenance and inspection, and the public safety and agro domains.   

2.    One stop-shop for research, development and testing

For the development and testing of the next generation (service) robotics, the UT and its partners have all the building blocks available for unique integrated research, development and test facilities. These include the in-house research labs to outdoor and field-testing facilities on the Living Smart Campus, the authorized flying testing facility SPACE53, TERRINet and the municipality of Enschede which is open to support real urban testing. Likewise, we have the connection of the surgical robotics lab to the living lab for medical technology and the rehabilitation centre ‘t Roessingh. Via iBotics, these facilities are combined with the facilities of TNO, to optimize our joint offer to the robotics industry. In the near future, other relevant infrastructures will also be available at Twente TechBase, like storage tanks, pipe racks and windmills. Fraunhofer Project Center can play an important role in the upscaling of industrial robotics.  

3.    Support for start-ups and product launches

The UT combines scientific excellence for the development of the next generation robotics with a keen eye for knowledge valorization and social applications. Because of the entrepreneurial spirit and the available support mechanisms, research results move out of the laboratory into the marketplace. Cooperation with the UT and Saxion has shown to be fruitful for existing companies. Research performed at the UT has also shown to be a fertile ground for a growing number of successful start-up companies in robotics, including DEMCON (high-tech and industrial systems as well as medical devices), KITE Robotics (window-cleaning robots), Gable Systems (rehabilitation robotics), Clear Flight Solutions (robot bird), and XSense (sensor suits). These fast-growing spin-off companies are examples showing the innovation power of this regional eco-system regarding robotics. The UT also has a strong business position based on the business and innovation eco-system of Novel-T and its partners such as the Venture Capital investment company Cottonwood (with one of their four focal markets for investments being robotics).  

4.    Access to European networks

Our robotics research groups are leading on an (inter)national level. Research in robotics and mechanical systems, rehabilitation and medical robotics, robotic inspection and human-robot interaction, as well as robot ethics and philosophy, has grown beyond the university’s and national boundaries. The UT is an established name in robotics research and science and a track record in setting the robotics research agenda in Europe and worldwide. For example: SPARC is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the European Commission and euRobotics. With €700M in funding from the Commission for 2014 – 2020, and triple that amount from European industry, SPARC is the largest civilian-funded robotics innovation programme in the world. Professor Stefan Stramigioli is leading the research side as Vice President Research of euRobotics. Furthermore, professor Willem Jonker is CEO of EIT Digital of the European Institute on Innovation and Technology, a PPP between European top universities and the ICT (using) industry; this organisation is currently setting up a new international Master on Autonomous Systems. Besides that, the University of Twente if coordinating the projects DIH-HERO[SL(1]  and is involved in the RIMA project.