Learning to design intelligent hardware, and then building it, programming it and getting it to work. Fascinating!Vincent Groenhuis, student Embedded Systems

Why did you choose this programme?

I’ve always found computers, hardware and robotics to be very appealing. So after completing my Bachelor’s in Computer Science, I wanted to find a Master’s programme that corresponded as closely as possible to my interests, and I finally decided on Embedded Systems. This is the ideal programme for learning to design intelligent hardware, and then building it, programming it, and getting it to work. Programming software is fun, but things really get fascinating once you get into the nuts and bolts of the hardware!

Why did you choose the University of Twente?

When it comes to programmes in technology, you have three serious options in the Netherlands. And the city of Enschede is by far the most exciting! Why? It’s hard to explain, it’s something you have to experience for yourself. OK, there’s nothing wrong with Delft or Eindhoven, but when I’m on campus or in the city, I just feel like Enschede has that little bit extra.

What do you think about your programme at UT?

It’s great. You’re constantly challenged to be constructive and go the extra mile. If a project is going well, you’ll be encouraged to get even more out of it! I spent five months in New Zealand on my internship. While there, I designed an exoskeleton that is controlled by your own nervous system. There’s just so much involved: measuring muscle activity, signal processing, real-time software, electronics, pneumatic actuators, air pressure regulators, and so on. The exoskeleton is a large and intricate mechatronic system, and it’s really cool to wear it yourself and experience the power it can exert!

What does an average week look like for you?

I’m doing my graduation project at the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics, where I’m developing a pneumatic manipulator instrument for use in an MRI environment. An MRI’s strong magnetic field means you really can’t use electricity, so you have all kinds of restrictions and that makes it all the more challenging! In my spare time I’m active in the CatchUp juggling club and I’m an amateur photographer. I spend my holidays at juggling festivals and I love to go mountain biking, and of course I always take my camera. Also, I recently attended a conference in Sweden where I spoke about my internship. That was great!

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