Robotic Art and Soft Robotics

Academic Study Board of the Faculty of Engineering

Teaching language: English
EKA: T570027102
Censorship: Second examiner: Internal
Grading: 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Autumn
Level: Master

Course ID: T570027101
ECTS value: 5

Date of Approval: 17-03-2020

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Archive

Course ID


Course Title

Robotic Art and Soft Robotics

ECTS value


Internal Course Code


Responsible study board

Academic Study Board of the Faculty of Engineering

Administrative Unit

Mærsk McKinney Møller Instituttet

Date of Approval


Course Responsible

Name Email Department
Gunver Majgaard SDU Game Development and Learning Technology, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Mø
Mette Jantzen TEK Uddannelse, Det Tekniske Fakultet


Name Email Department City
Jonas Jørgensen SDU Biorobotics, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Instituttet

Programme Secretary

Name Email Department City
Kirsten Thorup Nielsen TEK Studieadministration, Det Tekniske Fakultet

Offered in




Offered in



1 semester

Recommended prerequisites

It is recommended that the student has a general basic knowledge of electronics and experience with programming a microcontroller (e.g. Arduino).

Learning objectives - Knowledge

  • Describe and explain characteristics of historical main currents in robotic art from the 1960s until today
  • Demonstrate familiarity with selected seminal robotic artworks
  • Demonstrate knowledge of soft robotics applications, design methods, control, and fabrication techniques

Learning objectives - Skills

  • Analyze and compare robotic artworks
  • Design, compose, construct, and evaluate soft robotics prototypes for art purposes or for a human-robot interaction experiment
  • Reflect on how artistic and aesthetic approaches to robotics differ from an engineering perspective and present arguments for their relevance

Learning objectives - Competences

  • Conceive an idea for a soft robotic artwork or a prototype for an interaction experiment and execute it, drawing on knowledge of existing work and techniques.
  • Apply the methods of iterative, incremental development in the construction of a soft robotic prototype.


The course is an interdisciplinary introduction to robotic art and soft robotics as well as recent work and research that bridges these two fields. The teaching encompasses theoretical and practical work on both robotic art and soft robotics. 

The student will gain knowledge about artistic uses of robotics technology from the period that stretches from the 1960s until today through reading texts about robotic artworks written by art historians, media art scholars, and artists and by studying selected seminal artworks. The theoretical part of the course will also cover short introductions to philosophical aesthetics and practice-based artistic research methodology. Contemporary projects by artists, designers, and architects that explore the aesthetic potentials of soft robotics technology will also be surveyed. 

The second emphasis of the course is on soft robotics – a novel class of robotic components and systems constructed from soft materials (e.g. silicone rubbers) with an elastic modulus in the range of that of soft biological matter. An introduction will be given to the main areas of contemporary soft robotics research (actuators, sensors, control, design, fabrication, applications), the technology’s benefits, and different fabrication techniques for constructing silicone-based soft robots will be covered in-depth.

Alongside the historical, theoretical, and methodological study, students will gain hands on experience working with soft robotics through lab excercises and work on a final group project (a prototype of an artwork or a soft robot to be used in a human-robot interaction experiment).

URL for Skemaplan

Teaching Method

1 weekly lecture and lab of 4 hours in total for 12 weeks.

The course is a mixture of theory and practice. Students hand in assignments based on their work in the lab and a report on their final project. 

Approx. half of the teaching time will be spent on practical work and take place in the lab.

Number of lessons

48 hours per semester

Teaching language


Examination regulations

Exam regulations


Exam regulations

Examination is held

At the end of the semester.








Exam Conditions
In order to take the exam, the mandatory assignments must be completed.
Criteria for taking the exam will be fixed before semester start and stated in the course syllabus.

Final Exam
Individual oral exam based on individual final project report. 
The project and the final report  will be included in the assessment.

Form of examination

Oral examination


Second examiner: Internal


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card - Date of birth



ECTS value


Additional information

The course can be taken by both bachelor and master students.

Due to lab constraints and materials budget the course is limited to an uptake of 30 students.

Participant limit


Courses offered

Offer period Offer type Profile Education Semester


Profile Education Semester Offer period