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PhD position on smart materials in haptic interaction

PhD position on smart materials in haptic interaction

Position
PhD-student
Department(s)
Mechanical Engineering
FTE
1,0
Date off
14/03/2021
Reference number
V35.4812

Job description

In current remote interaction and virtual reality information can be shared visually and auditory, e.g. we could see and hear each other online. In virtual reality we could add avatars and an immersive environment to make the interaction more lively. However, one crucial part is still missing, haptic interactions. We cannot feel remotely and we cannot feel virtual objects. This missing link in the haptic feedback loop is often approached with solutions based on vibrations or force feedback.

In material science and soft robotics smart materials and flexible materials with soft robotic functions are being developed, e.g. materials that can change their surface texture or absorb/release moisture in response to external stimulus (light, electricity, heat). In this project the possibility of applying these smart materials in haptic interactions will explored. The (smart) materials will be selected and tested based on their potential to be used in human haptic interaction by comparing their capabilities with those of the human haptic sense. Suitable (smart) materials will be developed further in collaboration with material experts and will be combined with more conventional methods for haptic feedback to create a wide range of virtual haptic touch.

The PhD candidate is expected to explore and develop new possibilities for haptic
nteractions by using soft and smart materials. For example by comparing the functionalities
(and controllability) of smart materials with human haptic sensing capabilities to identify a relevant use case (e.g. on surface roughness), but also by developing and testing prototypes of (components for) devices for soft and smart haptic interaction in user studies.

An intensive collaboration within the department (e.g. material technology), between departments (e.g. chemistry, human-technology interaction), and between universities is expected. The project will be closely connected to the 4TU Soft Robotics program (www.dutchsoftrobotics.nl).

About the group

In the section Dynamics and Control research focuses on the modeling, analysis and control of mechanical systems in a broad sense. This encompasses typical areas as mechatronics, modern vehicle control and last but not least automation of mechanical systems. The latter subject is nowadays a key driver for research in robotics. Besides various more industrial robotic applications in industry and agriculture, an important field is formed by robots for care and for cure. Though very different in usage, both directions have great potential for the future of mankind. A recent very relevant development in robotics for care and cure is framed as soft robotics where because of the very nature of a soft robot, human-robot interaction and safety is of primal importance.

Job requirements

We are looking for a recently graduated, talented, enthusiastic candidate with affinity for
Haptic Interaction holding a MSc in Mechanical Engineering, Human-Technology Interaction, Human Movement Sciences, Biology or equivalent. A strong interest in physics of man, human perception and haptics is needed, as well as the willingness to look beyond the borders of his or her own discipline and a strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary project. Programming/modelling skills, excellent communication skills and written/verbal knowledge of the English language are required.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr.ir. Irene Kuling, i.a.kuling[at]tue.nl.

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HR Advice ME,
hradviceme[at]tue.nl or HR Services, hrservices.gemini[at]tue.nl.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!

Application

We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it.
Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.