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Robotic fish to enable effective coastal kaitiakitanga: information is power

   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 project

We seek a PhD candidate to explore underwater propulsion based on artificial muscles for an instrumented robotic seacraft.

We are part of a large project led by X-craft limited and involving partners from multiple research institutions, including NIWA, UoA, Victoria University, and AUT. The project's overarching goal is to develop an autonomous fish robot that can observe coastal marine systems in New Zealand to improve ecological management. This is an exciting opportunity and an ambitious project, with novel technology.

The successful applicant would be based at the University of Auckland and help develop underwater propulsion based on soft actuators (or artificial muscles). A propulsion system based on artificial muscle would avoid the entanglement issues encountered by traditional propellers and would be silent, a key feature for observing marine life.

What will you be doing?

You will address two main research questions:

·        What is the best artificial muscle configuration for an underwater propulsion system?

·        How to design artificial muscles (which are actuated using high voltage) for long-term operation underwater?

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a motivated engineer with a BE/ME or final year engineering student. Particular interest or expertise in mechatronics, mechanical, electrical, or biomedical engineering is preferred. The project will have an extensive hands-on component, so you need to be comfortable prototyping new actuators, developing new fabrication processes or measurement set-ups. The project would suit a student with a creative mind, a hands-on approach, and an excellent analytical mindset. Prior experience with dielectric elastomer actuators is a plus but not necessary.


We are currently prioritizing local students (NZ citizens, permanent resident, or students with an undergraduate diploma from a NZ university). We particularly welcome applications from Māori, Pacific, disabled, and rainbow communities. Ka tino mihi matou ki nga tono mai i te iwi Maori. Matou te faʻafeiloaʻi faapitoa talosaga mai nuu Pasefika.

International applicants

In a second stage, we will consider worldwide applications. If you are an international student, you cover letter needs to address how you meed the Doctoral entry requirements: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html

The Biomimetics lab

You will be working with the Auckland Bioengineering institute’s Biomimetics lab (http://biomimeticslab.com), which has more than 15 years of experience developing soft actuators, sensors, and generators. You will be working with a dynamic team in a collaborative environment.

For more information, contact Dr. Samuel Rosset ([Email Address Removed]).

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