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DTPSCIDM: Electronic skins for robotics and sensing applications


School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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Dr Oleksandr Malyuskin No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Belfast United Kingdom Electrical Engineering

About the Project

Start Date: 1 October 2021

Electronic skins (e-skins) find many exciting applications in robotics, sensing and biomedicine. E-skins are designed to mimic the performance of human skin or provide sensing capabilities beyond the human skin abilities. E-skin employs various sensors to measure ambient physical characteristics such as pressure, forces and strain, temperature, light intensity, proximity and composition of objects. In future, e-skins may provide advanced sensing capabilities including chemical sensing of the surfaces. The design of e-skins presents significant challenges in terms of materials, devices, sophisticated integration methods, and interference-free data acquisition. These challenges range from functional materials, device architecture, pixel design, array structure, and data acquisition method to multimodal sensing performance with electromagnetic interference. A number of novel approaches to solve these e-skin design challenges will be adopted in this project, including smart sensors, analogue and neuromorphic tactile data processing and wireless sensor networking. The developed e-skins will be employed in robotics, humanoid artificial skins, sensing for automation and prosthetic devices.

This project aims at the development of the multimodal tactile sensor e-skin technology on semi-flexible, flexible and stretchable platforms and smart microwave antennas used as sensor pixels.

A major advancement of the existing e-skin technology will be in the way the sensor receptors communicate with a processing centre. This communication will be organized in a similar way to human brain processing of the tactile information however the parallel data streams will be replaced with a serial communication resulting in the e-skin communication network size and power reduction.

A number of solutions to flexible and stretchable electronic platforms will be explored to design an optimal e-skin smart sensor pixel. Next, the sensor pixel arrays will be designed based on the antenna array and wireless sensor networking principles. Finally, the neuromorphic data processing principles will be employed to design and build a complete e-skin prototype. This e-skin prototypes will be evaluated in robotic sensing scenarios.

ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING OVERVIEW

The School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS) aims to enhance the way we use technology in communication, data science, computing systems, cyber security, power electronics, intelligent control, and many related areas.

You’ll be part of a dynamic doctoral research environment and will study alongside students from over 40 countries worldwide; we supervise students undertaking research in key areas of electronics and electrical engineering, including: power electronics,robotics, wireless communications, cybersecurity and sensor-based systems. As part of a lively community of over 100 full-time and part-time research students you’ll have the opportunity to develop your research potential in a vibrant research community that prioritises the cross-fertilisation of ideas and innovation in the advancement of knowledge.

Within the School we have a number of specialist research centres including a Global Research Institute, the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) specialising in Cyber Security, Wireless Innovation and Data Science and scalable computing.

Many PhD studentships attract scholarships and top-up supplements. PhD programmes provide our students with the opportunity to acquire an extensive training in research techniques.

Electrical & Electronic Engineering Highlights

Professional Accreditations

  • ECIT brings together, in one building, internationally recognised research groups specialising in key areas of advanced digital and communications technology.

Industry Links

  • CSIT brings together research specialists in complementary fields such as data security, network security systems, wireless-enabled security systems, intelligent surveillance systems; and serves as the national point of reference for knowledge transfer in these areas.
  • Electric Power and Energy Systems research is focused on problems related to distributed sources of energy and their integration into power networks. The cluster is a member of the IET Power Academy and is a major collaborator on all-island energy research.
  • SoCaM is dedicated to the design of advanced, integrated, high-speed wireless and couples activities in High Frequency Electronics, System-on-Chip, Signals and Systems and Digital Signal Processing, and for Gigabit/sec wireless.

World Class Facilities

  • The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, with state-of-the-art technology, offers a bespoke research environment.

Internationally Renowned Experts

  • You will be working under the supervision of leading international academic experts.

Key Facts

Research students are encouraged to play a full and active role in relation to the wide range of research activities undertaken within the School and there are many resources available including:

  • Access to the Queen's University Postgraduate Researcher Development Programme
  • A wide range of personal development and specialist training courses offered through the Personal Development programme
  • Office accommodation with access to computing facilities and support to attend conferences for full-time PhD students
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