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Examining the interface of neuroscience and robotics, developing methods for control and tactile feedback in prosthetic hands

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, February 27, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Funds are available for a PhD position within the University of Bristol’s Department of Engineering Mathematics.

Applicants with an interest in Upper-limb Prosthetic and Tactile Robotics research are encouraged to apply through Dr Benjamin Ward-Cherrier. The project is at the interface of neuroscience and robotics, developing methods for control and tactile feedback in prosthetic hands.

In order for individuals with a limb difference to effectively interact with their environment, tactile feedback is an integral and necessary part of a prosthetic hand. This project proposes to address this issue by exploring tactile feedback strategies which provide contact detection, pressure and location information to the user.

While the issue of tactile sensing in prosthetics has been raised in the literature, there is little known about the optimal extent and nature of tactile feedback deliverable to prosthetic users. Hardware and algorithms developed as part of this project aim to investigate this vast research question.

This project involves the design and integration of tactile sensors within an existing upper-limb prosthetic hand (OpenBionics, Brunel hand [1]) and the development of a non-invasive haptic feedback system. A control system will also be developed to allow the user to open and close the prosthetic hand using myoelectric sensors (Myoware [2]).

This research will pave the way in the development of algorithms for shared autonomy within prosthetic hands and will benefit from close collaborations with industry (OpenBionics, iniVation) as well as a network of Dr. Ward-Cherrier and Dr. Lepora’s academic collaborators.

Candidate Requirements

Candidates should possess a minimum 2:1 honour degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics or a related discipline, and have strong mathematical and programming skills. Previous experience in robotics or computational neuroscience would be an advantage but not essential. A recognised English language qualification is required if English is not your first language at Profile E Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Some programming experience, ideally in C, C++, python or Matlab is required.

Informal enquiries

For informal enquiries, please email Dr Benjamin Ward-Cherrier,
For general enquiries, please email

Application Details

Prior to application please send a CV and very brief letter describing your interest in the studentship to

To apply for this studentship, submit a PhD application using our online application system [www.bristol.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply]

Please select PhD Engineering Mathematics on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form with the name of the supervisor. Closing date for applications 27 February 2019 but applications should be made as soon as possible.

Funding Notes

Scholarship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to 1st September 2018) PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£14,777 in 2018/19). EU nationals resident in the UK may also apply but will only qualify for PhD tuition fees.

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