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PhD in Engineering - Electronic skin with Flexible Actuators

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, March 10, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Tactile feedback in robotics, prosthetics and rehabilitation is needed to transfer the information acquired by biomimetic skin. Currently this is achieved through vibrotactile feedback. However, the current actuators for vibrotactile feedback are bulky and the feedback is very limited. This has led researchers to explore invasive methods using neural probes. However, invasive methods are painful and current technology is far from practical use. This project will overcome this challenge by developing flexible electronic skin (e-skin) with ultra-thin actuators with a combination of inductive coils and soft magnetic materials. The effectiveness of proposed approach for tactile feedback will be verified in prosthetics and rehabilitation applications. The job requires good skills related soft robotics, soft lithography, microfabrication, and modelling of soft materials.

This PhD will be part of the cohort supported by EU funded Innovative Training Network - INnovative Network for Training in ToUch InteracTIVE Interfaces (INTUITIVE), which aims to bring a paradigm shift in our understanding of human tactile processing and in the exploitation of opportunities offered by artificial tactile sensing. Instead of limiting themselves to the properties that can be empirically defined at the level of single tactile sensors, the cohort will build on the novel principle that the brain/artificial haptic sensing system control the state of population-level tactile sensor activation using force modulation to obtain a super-rich source of information in haptic exploration. Based on this new conceptual framework, the first computational biomimetic skin that will be developed in INTUITIVE will consider the skin mechanics and integrate a large variety of individual sensor elements. Robotics and assistive technology applications will illustrate the new generation of tactile artificial intelligent systems enabled by these findings.

This PhD is fully funded through EU funded Innovative Training Network - INnovative Network for Training in ToUch InteracTIVE Interfaces (INTUITIVE). According to the regulations for mobility within the Marie Curie programme, the researcher must not have carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of his/her host organisation (in this case, the United Kingdom) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment.

The researcher should not have obtained a PhD degree and should not have more than 4 year full-time or equivalent research experience since obtaining the degree which makes them eligible for starting the PhD degree.

All candidates are advised to visit the following website to obtain further details of the eligibility requirements for Marie Curie initiatives, see particularly page 8 to assess your criteria before making an application: -

Applicants will also need to submit an application to the University’s job vacancy site:

Funding Notes

Salary: Approx. £35,000 - £45,000 per annum*
Researchers will receive an additional mobility allowance and, depending on personal circumstances, a family allowance.

This post is fixed term for 3 years in the first instance.

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