Summer school: Construct the Future

Do you enjoy constructing things and thinking creatively? Are you keen to shape the future through novel construction methods?

The Construct the Future course focuses on thinking-to-build with a strong link to (engineering) design. We focus on innovative and multidisciplinary integration, 3D printing, lightweight structures steered by smart design processes.

We also have a Design the Future course.

“Thinking about (new) ways to construct challenges us and demands us to stay up to date no matter how fast technological developments are!”Wessel Wits (course leader)

Please note: Construct the Future and Design the Future used to be one course. The video above was made for that course.

Course structure

During the Construct the Future track, students will be informed about and work with a variety of methods and topics in the broad field of (Engineering) Design ranging of Agile design and Innovative design to 3D printing and electronics for smart products. The last two days, students in this track will team up with colleagues in the Design the Future and the Health and Happiness tracks to work on a multidisciplinary design challenge collectively. At the end of the Summer school, the teams will pitch their innovative ideas and prototype experience to a panel of experts.

Course topics

Click the topics for more detailed information.

Introduction to Agile design

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the general principles of agile design
  • Experiencing the benefits and pitfalls of agile design
Engineering design

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the general process of engineering design
  • Being able to breakdown an engineering design process according to several design phases
  • Experiencing the benefits and pitfalls within engineering design
3D printing

We will learn about 3D printing processes and learn how to design a product or useful part in a 3D solid modelling environment. You will also interactively start designing your own product. 3D printers will be available to print your design directly.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the basic (technological) principles of 3D printing
  • Understanding of the common terminology used in 3D printing
  • Hands-on experience with 3D printers and printing your own artefacts
Electronics for smart products

Explorative design is a very important skill for developing new concepts. Using rapid prototyping tools such as cardboard, duct tape, tie wraps you can get quite far in conceptualising your ideas. In this session we are going to add sensors, motors and microcontrollers to the tinkering toolset in order to understand basic electronics and prototype smart products

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the basic principles of electronics in prototyping
  • Hands-on experience with programming Arduinos and building a smart product
Lightweight structures

This course will give an insight into the specificities of Fibre Reinforced Polymers. This category of materials is known for its ability to be used in lightweight designs. However, such materials need to be designed in order to obtain their unique properties. Aim of the course is to explore and understand the relations between the design of the material and its properties, meant for an application in lightweight design.

Learning outcomes:

  • Introduction to design of lightweight structures using fibre reinforced polymers.
  • Basic understanding of the relation between design and material properties.
Innovation design (TRIZ)

Innovative design skills augment by overcoming ‘mental inertia’. Mental inertia describes the phenomena that humans tend to look for solutions to problems locally: for example, car engineering problems are solved by car engineers using their car engineering expertise. By analysing the problem and abstracting it to a level that is not car specific anymore, it can become clear that methods used in for example process engineering could be applied also. This one-day hands-on TRIZ intro course educates students on problem analysis, abstraction and guidelines to find the right innovative solution strategies for an abstract problem.

Learning outcomes:

  • Introduction to the TRIZ methodology of inventive problem solving
  • Analyse a problem situation and model as an abstract problem (contradiction)
  • Apply standard TRIZ tools to find solutions for abstract problems
Multidisciplinary design challenge

On the last two days of the CuriousU program students will collaborate with students from the Health and Happiness track and the Construct the Future track. In groups, they will work on a Health by Design challenge that will result in final pitches to be given on Monday afternoon. Experts on the design of future things and on the UTwente DesignLab method Science2Design4Society will introduce useful tools and methods on the first day. At the end of the first day students will have a first idea on how to solve the challenge. The last day will be devoted to further developing ideas into concepts and on preparing pitches. During this day, a panel of experts will be available that can provide detailed information that can inform the development of the interventions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding multidisciplinary work following the Science2design4Society method
  • Collaborating in a multidisciplinary team
  • Acquiring future thinking skills
  • Applying skills and tools learned throughout the track to a concrete case

For further information or questions please send an email to:

Learning outcomes

  • Gaining insight into the different elements of engineering design thinking in an academic environment
  • Gaining experience in working on a variety of design cases
  • Acquiring a selection of new skills that students can use in further studies
  • Acquiring hands-on prototyping skills while “Keeping it simple, stupid” (KISS)

Course leader

Wessel Wits

He is appointed Assistant Professor at the Laboratory of Design, Production and Management at the Faculty of Engineering Technology. He is coordinator of the Design Engineering master track. The focus of his research is "Physics in

Wessel Wits research focus on Physics in Design. From an engineering perspective, successful product development is constantly challenged by considering novel technologies. For design engineers this requires both a thorough understanding of the underlying physics and physical phenomena, and a systematic way to transfer this knowledge to the product level. Current topics are design process modelling, two-phase principles in heat transfer and (metal) additive manufacturing (3D printing).

Check Wessel's LinkedIn profile

Course details

  • Methods: Lab work projects, interactive lectures
  • Course level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Target group: Students in their third Bachelor’s year with an interest in design
  • Required knowledge: Basic understanding of engineering
  • External speaker: tbc
  • Course leaders: tbc
  • Credits: 2 ECTS for successfully completing the summer school