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Bioinspired sensing: distributed sensory surface

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, March 25, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Informal enquiries: Dr Tareq Assaf ()

Robotic perception is crucial for robotic systems to advance and perform more and more complex tasks autonomously or semi-autonomously. Tactile sensing hardware presents many challenges and the scientific community is actively searching effective solutions to address them. Several solutions can be found in literature. Most of these solutions are focused on localized tactile sensors (e.g. finder tips) in order to enhance robot capabilities in object manipulation and dexterity. These are the most common tactile devices exploited in robotics.

This project focuses, on the other hand, on the topic of delocalized medium/large scale sensing (e.g. artificial skin). Works on this topic can also be found but solutions are still in development due to its intrinsic complexity and technical challenges. Multiple sensing strategies, large area coverage, flexibility are a few examples of characteristics which increase maintenance issues and design constraints.

This project exploits elements of several disciplines that include but not limited to: robotics, materials science, electronics, mechanics and biology. The PhD student will address some of those limitations by investigating and developing a bioinspired structure capable of replicating in some extent skin features. This involves a multitude of mechanoreceptors, structure, density, decentralized sensing and decentralised sensory information integration processing.

The work will focus on several core tasks and skills:
• Biology inspired design
• Design and development of proof of concepts
• Prototyping
• Material investigation, characterization and test (e.g. soft materials)
• Decentralized modular design
• Data acquisition and processing

By its nature, this investigation favours a multidisciplinary background. However, this project provides scope and opportunity for building up a wide breadth of knowledge for students coming from any core discipline background.

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, an undergraduate Masters first class degree or MSc distinction (or non-UK equivalent). English language entry requirements must be met at the time of application to be considered for funding, see

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

This project is eligible for inclusion in three funding rounds, subject to funding availability. Application deadlines: Wednesday 27 November 2019, Wednesday 29 January 2020 & Wednesday 25 March 2020. Early submission is advised. A full application must have been submitted before inclusion in a funding round.

Anticipated start date: 28 September 2020

Funding Notes

UK and EU candidates applying for this project will be considered for a University Research Studentship which will cover UK/EU tuition fees, a training support fee of £1,000 per annum and a tax-free maintenance allowance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 in 2019-20) for a period of up to 3.5 years.

How good is research at University of Bath in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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