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PDEng in Robotics: Control of an Archimedes Drive based actuator for wearable robotics

Job description

The Professional Doctorate in Engineering (PDEng) programme Robotics offers a 2-year position combining post MSc education and a design project to be carried out at Innovative Mechatronic Systems in Delft. The educational programme, carried out at the University of Twente, will have an in-depth and broadening character with ample attention for professional development and will be partly tailored to the design project. In collaboration with Innovative Mechatronic Systems you will work on high level, creative new designs for complex issues.

The assignment is the design and evaluation of controller of an actuator that is using a traction based gear system invented by IMsystems and will be used in wearable robotics, like exoskeletons and prosthesis.

The wearable robotics research program is funded by NWO-TTW and a cooperation between The University of Twente, the Delft University of Technology, the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Radboud University Medical Center.

Within the actuation project of the program, the department of Biomechanical Engineering University of Twente (BE), the Electronic and Mechanical support Division of the Delft University of Technology, production company Hankamp Gears and the traction gear development company Innovative Mechatronic Systems are the major parties.

The aim of the actuator project is to develop an all in one actuator, using the Archimedes Drive as its speed reducer. Because of its low power loss, and true zero backlash, improved performance with respect to the first version with a more traditional type of gear is expected. To be able to implement the new actuator in wearable robotics, new methods to control a traction based system need to be developed.

The Archimedes Drive is a compound planetary traction drive, that uses traction between steel rollers to transmit the torque (instead of gear teeth). Besides the obvious advantages, such as zero backlash and low friction, there is the introduction of a new property: Kinematic creep. That is the torque and velocity dependent micro slip at the traction surface. It is our belief that this unique property can be an advantage for good torque control, better admittance control and/or improved controlled transparency.

The challenge is to develop control methods to benefit the most from this novel type of actuator. Therefore, identification of all properties of an Archimedes Drive, and methods to model (analytically and discrete) the system will be the start of this assignment. When the system is well known, new stable (nonlinear) control methods should be designed These low-level controllers should enable the integrators of the actuator in wearable systems, to implement the control of their wearable devices.

Your profile

Are you the person looking for this challenge? Than you have:

  • Finished a relevant master like mechanical engineering, electrical engineering or systems and control with a  focus on control of mechanical systems;
  • Hands-on experience with Electronics (to be able to work independent with the test setups);
  • A can-do mindset and eager to learn;
  • Proven affinity with design and multidisciplinary assignments;
  • Self-starting and self-motivating, willing to take initiatives and feel the responsibility for your own project.

Candidates with a non-Dutch qualification and who have not had secondary and tertiary education in English can only be admitted with an IELTS-test showing a total band score of at least 6.5, internet TOEFL test (TOEFL-iBT) showing a score of at least 90, or a Cambridge CAE-C (CPE).

Our offer

We offer a very challenging position for two years in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. In this time we will provide a tailor made post-master design programme that has an educational component (~50%) as well as a design project (~50%). The main focus of the first year will be on acquiring the required knowledge as well as starting the development of the models of the actuator. The second year wil be focussed on the identification of the model, controller design and evaluation of the performance of the controlled actuator.

  • A salary of € 1.970 gross per month;
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment.

On successfully completing the programme, you will receive a certified degree. You will be entitled to use the academic degree PDEng and will be registered as a Technological Designer in the Dutch register kept by the Royal Institution of Engineers in the Netherlands (KIVI).

Information and application

To apply, please send the following documents before 7 August 2021 through the link below:

  • Letter of motivation;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • List with grades of courses attended;
  • References and, if applicable, a list of publications.

If you have any further questions about this position, please contact Prof.dr.ir. Herman van der Kooij (h.vanderkooij@utwente.nl or call +31534894779).

About the organization

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) engages in education and research Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering with a view to enabling society and industry to innovate and create value using sound, efficient and sustainable technology. We are part of a ‘people-first' university of technology, taking our place as an internationally leading centre for smart production, processes and devices in five domains: Health Technology, Maintenance, Smart Regions, Smart Industry and Sustainable Resources. Our faculty is home to some 1,800 Bachelor's and Master's students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates and offers three degree programmes: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our educational and research programme are closely connected with UT research institutes Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

University of Twente (UT)

University of Twente (UT) has entered the new decade with an ambitious, new vision, mission and strategy. As ‘the ultimate people-first university of technology' we are rapidly expanding on our High Tech Human Touch philosophy and the unique role it affords us in society. Everything we do is aimed at maximum impact on people, society and connections through the sustainable utilisation of science and technology. We want to contribute to the development of a fair, digital and sustainable society through our open, inclusive and entrepreneurial attitude. This attitude permeates everything we do and is present in every one of UT's departments and faculties. Building on our rich legacy in merging technical and social sciences, we focus on five distinguishing research domains: Improving healthcare by personalised technologies; Creating intelligent manufacturing systems; Shaping our world with smart materials; Engineering our digital society; and Engineering for a resilient world.

As an employer, University of Twente offers jobs that matter. We equip you as a staff member to shape new opportunities both for yourself and for our society. With us, you will be part of a leading tech university that is changing our world for the better. We offer an open, inclusive and entrepreneurial climate, in which we encourage you to make healthy choices, for example, with our flexible, customisable conditions.

PDEng in Robotics: Control of an Archimedes Drive based actuator for wearable robotics
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