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Enhancing Diver Capabilities and Safety with Smart Wearables

   Auckland Bioengineering Institute

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  Assoc Prof I Anderson, Dr Samuel Rosset  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The underwater environment attracts 10s of millions of scuba divers worldwide, with 1 million PADI certifications being issued annually. However, despite its popularity, diving is not without risks and sees a large number of yearly accidents and fatalities. This project focuses on enhancing the capabilities of divers and improving their safety with smart wearable technology. The project builds upon recent research accomplishments in human-robot interaction underwater. Previously, a gesture-recognition dive glove, developed by the Biomimetics Laboratory at the University of Auckland, was used to explore novel diver-robot communication methods based on wearable sensors. The glove, (Figure 1a), captured motion data in real time, recognised when gestures were performed using trained machine learning algorithms, and translated these as acoustically sent commands to the autonomous underwater buddy ‘DINIS’ (Figure 1b).

You will be joining the ROADMAP (Robot-Aided Diver Navigation in Mapped Environments) team as part of the Biomimetics Lab at the University of Auckland. The team has expertise in electroactive polymer technology with a specific focus on underwater applications. The project is part of a collaboration with the Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies (LABUST) at the University of Zagreb. A demonstration of our latest trials together can be seen in the link below:

This is a fully funded PhD project which will explore underwater non-invasive sensing of posture and physiological parameters. This may include but is not limited to:

1.      Sensor development, customisation, fabrication, evaluation, and integration into the dive glove or wetsuit

2.      Physiological monitoring which may include heart rate, respiration, fatigue, and stress/panic levels.

3.      Electronics development for onboard data processing, acoustic transmission and feedback to the diver

The student will be based at and have access to facilities at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute including an electronics workshop, machining workshop, prototyping equipment, and modelling software. The ideal student for this project would have experience/knowledge of the following areas:

1.      Electrical/Mechatronics/Bioengineering/Mechanical engineering degree or similar. Essentially experience using, developing, or implementing sensors and electronics.

2.      PCB design (preferably with Altium Designer)

3.      Object oriented programming skills

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact


If you wish to apply for this position, please send us your CV, a cover letter, and grade transcripts. Your cover letter should address your research experience in relation to the project description. Candidates must meet the entry requirements of the university of Auckland for doctoral admission: This includes having completed a significant research project such as a dissertation or thesis at university level, and English language requirements. Please address whether you meet these requirements in your cover letter.

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