We are seeking for a postdoc in the area of Soft Robotics. This position is part of 4TU.Federation’s Soft Robotics program, which started in 2018. Within this program, the Netherlands’ four universities of technology (TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, University of Twente and Wageningen University) work together closely to make a significant impact on social challenges in the long term.
Robots that will daily operate in human environments, will need a ‘soft touch’. The robots we know from industrial production, are extremely precise and fast, but very rigid as well. For physical and safe contact with people, or for handling vulnerable food products, they don’t perform well. The ‘4TU Soft Robotics’ program chooses a nature-inspired approach: the grip of a tree frog and the flexible arm of a cuttlefish (www.dutchsoftrobotics.nl). For this, knowledge of biology, fully new control systems, and innovative robot design strategies go hand in hand. The partners of the technical universities strengthen each other in this.
Soft robotics is a very young and promising field and offers an exciting, radically different approach to operate safely and reliably in human-inhabited environments. Our ambition is to take the lead in realizing the next generation of soft robotic systems through the integrated design of affordable flexible hardware, power-efficient lightweight actuators, and efficient and intuitive control. Inspired by biology, new transduction principles and geometries will be explored, characterized by flexible geometries of materials with imperfect and anisotropic properties. Our vision embraces the integrated design of soft robots, including desirable mechanical properties, embedded sensing, and actuation, modeling, and control. From this vision, many scientific challenges arise in the areas of statics, dynamics and materials and transducers science for which you will take the lead in progressing these fields.
For example, the flexibility of soft robots poses challenges on its modelling and control: the models have to be quite accurate to mimic flexible nature of the robots, and at the same time the model complexity can hamper the application of the control design methods; so to find a reasonable trade-off between the model accuracy and its applicability for control is one of the core research questions posed. A flexible structure with embedded transduction is so dissimilar to the regular transducers mounted on stiff robots, that for both the description and understanding of the transducers as well as for their use in soft robotic control schemes, we will have to develop new theoretical and practical (bio-inspired) control frameworks.
You will be working in a team of top scientists and you will have the opportunity to carry out excellent research, set up and contribute to educational programs and work on concrete solutions within our broad network of partners in policy and practice. The 4TU Soft Robotics program offers prospective candidates excellent opportunities to extend their networks with academic and societal partners.
As a postdoc you will enhance the cooperation between the academic partners involved in the Soft Robotics 4TU program via application of developed design techniques to the emerging use cases from the following areas: modern manufacturing systems, health care, soft (cooperative) robots for agriculture.
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.
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?
Please contact dr.ir. I.A. Kuling, i.a.kuling[at]tue.nl.
For information about terms of employment, click here.
Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!
We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'solliciteer nu'-button on this page. The application should include a:
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.