Denmark Is Driven to Lead European Robotics

In the News
May 02, 2016

The world's 114th largest country is preparing to make a big impact in global robotics.

Denmark is famous for being the home of Hamlet, The Little Mermaid, and Lego. The nation is also working hard to become known for its thriving European robotics industry.

The country currently hosts a substantial robotics base, including world-class manufacturers and academic programs. Denmark hosts a large number of full-scale test facilities and has a long tradition of developing solutions for complex processes in close collaboration with end users.

Denmark has also become an almost ideal place for testing, developing, and marketing next-generation robot and drone technologies, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Søren Tranberg Hansen.

In addition, Denmark’s location and infrastructure help make it an excellent hub for robotics developers worldwide looking to reach into nearby Nordic nations as well as the rest of Europe, Hansen added.

Education underpins robotics prowess

For a nation with approximately 5.7 million people, Denmark has a rich robotics education infrastructure. For example, Aalborg University operates a robotics program that’s active in three major fields: manipulators, actuators, and sensors.

The school, which has campuses in Aalborg, Esbjerg, and Copenhagen, also offers a cross-disciplinary bachelor’s engineering program in robotics that draws on a number of related fields, such as automation, production, electronics and IT, media technology, and health technology. It also offers a master’s degree program in control and automation.

The University of Southern Denmark in Odense offers a master’s program in robot systems that allows students to choose one of two specializations: advanced robotics technology or unmanned aerial systems technology.

The school also works closely with Danish businesses on various robotics and related technologies.

Denmark’s largest and most influential robotics research institution is the Danish Technological Institute (DTI), which focuses on developing, applying, and transferring robotic technologies to industry and society.

DTI develops touchless control

DTI researchers are particularly interested in exploring human-machine interaction and communications. They have also developed a motion-sensor technology called Leap that permits completely touchless interactions between people and robots.

Leap is a compact device that uses a stereo camera to recognize hand movements via infrared light. It enables physical gestures to be instantly translated into robot commands.

In some situations, touching a control panel is undesirable, since it might causes contamination or inconvenience the user in some way, noted Malene Tofvesen Nibe, a DTI design engineer and consultant. Leap is designed to make robot operation entirely hands-free.

“This will, for example, will be an advantage in sterile areas,” she said.

In another project, DTI researchers have designed software that allows a robot to visually locate screw holes in an object and then physically fasten screws in those locations.

The Screwdriving CoWorker lets the robot do the repetitive task and leaves the operator to do the work that is difficult to automate.

The idea for automating the screwing process actually originates from...

Continue Reading