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PhD Studentship: Soft Robotic Sensing - Reference: SAM21/04

Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Loughborough United Kingdom Aerospace Engineering Applied Mathematics Electrical Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Other Other Software Engineering

About the Project

Start date of studentship: 01 Oct 2021

The global pandemic has put a significant strain on all industries. Remote working and automation, once thought to be isolated to certain domains is now accelerating in adoption. However, there are still many barriers to the mass adoption of automation for many. Industrial robots lack the capability for truly collaborative work with humans. Industrial robots are evolving into collaborative robotics through the use of Artificial Intelligence and through the use of smart materials. One of the largest gaps in the capabilities of the robots compared to humans, is the ability of the robot to sense and feel its environment. 3D printing is enabling us to rapid prototype robot grippers and tools, but the more flexible these become the more inaccurate they become. Sensing the location and the touch of these grippers will enable truly collaborative robotics.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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The studentship has the opportunity to work within the Intelligent Automation Centre (IAC) (  which is a Multidisciplinary Centre for Advanced Robotics and Digital Automation. The work will build upon world leading research in Electrostatic Adhesion and Soft Robotics, for which manufacturing processes and testing environments have been established at IAC.

The focus of the project with be around the development/integration of novel smart sensors for soft robotic grippers and enhancing the capability of robotic grasping. This project will focus on a number of possible environments including but not limited to: logistics, healthcare, biological materials, construction, aerospace, automotive, and space.

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Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical/Manufacturing/Electrical Engineering/ Automation, applied Mathematics or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Mechanical, Robotics/Computer Science or Control Engineering.

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select ‘Electronic, Electrical & Systems Engineering’.  Please quote reference number: SAM21/04.

Funding Notes

Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects starting with advert reference ‘SAM21’ for the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.
If awarded, each 3-year studentship will provide a minimum tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum, plus tuition fees at the UK rate (minimum £4,407). Exact values are still to be confirmed. International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee only and no stipend will be available.

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