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Postdoctoral position (2 years) in ergonomic haptic and force multiplying wearables for industry

Job description

Do you want to contribute to preventing injuries in countless factory workers who are involved in manual tasks? Are you passionate about groundbreaking actuation technologies and wearables? Then this two year postdoctoral position in the University of Twente’s Engineering Technology Biomechatronics and Rehabilitation Technology group may be just for you! You will play a valuable role developing highly ergonomic posture correction and force multiplier wearables. Amidst the SOPHIA project’s network of dedicated biomechanists, roboticists, and partners in machinery and automotive industries you will work on novel rigid and soft actuator technologies that optimally support the movement of the body.

The Horizon2020 Socio-physical Interaction Skills for Cooperative Human-Robot Systems in Agile Production (SOPHIA) is a four year EU funded project. It aims to realize efficient, adaptable, and safe human-robot manufacturing environments. This joint effort between research institutions, policy makers, and industry pioneers a trustworthy, seamless social interface between humans and robots that aids the efficiency in their mutual physical interaction. Through well-tested sensing methods, modeling, and algorithms, SOPHIA will see humans and novel collaborative robots, such as exoskeletons and collaborative robots, intuitively and synergistically working together in a variety of production scenarios. In this way, SOPHIA will remove the separation between man and machine to improve factory output.

Your role in SOPHIA will focus on factory workers involved in lifting and manipulation tasks. They are prone to injury of joints such as the lower back, knees, shoulders, and elbows. However, many of these injuries can be prevented if the tasks are executed with an optimal body posture. Further, the duration of the tasks can be extended if the joints’ muscles are assisted with externally applied forces. This delays the onset of muscle fatigue. The goal of this position is to develop ergonomic WearBots – both for haptically correcting wearer posture and multiplying the force of the wearer to reduce fatigue of their muscles.

The challenge

We need portable, modular, ergonomic (comfortable, light, compact, non-restrictive), and single degree-of-freedom WearBots to be developed for various upper and lower limb joints. Your role will be to do this by:

  • Designing exoskeletal WearBots for force multiplication with the state-of-the-art rigid actuation (electromechanical and electrohydrostatic) and sensing from the eNHANCE, SYMBITRON, and VICI Flexible Robotic Suit projects
  • Designing exosuit WearBots for posture correction with the ultra-high-torque soft inflatable actuators from the VICI Flexible Robotic Suit project and flexible sensors
  • Design and test methods for providing haptic feedback for effective posture correction with a focus on compact and light feedback mechanisms
  • Testing the ability of WearBots to increase task productivity by reducing muscle fatigue and encouraging safe postures through haptic feedback

This will see, for the first time, the realization of comfortable force multipliers and active posture correction devices that reduce the incidence of musculoskeletal diseases in workers.

Are you the researcher we are looking for?

Your profile

You are highly motivated to join our friendly multidisciplinary team, pioneering wearable technologies that make a significant improvement in the conditions of factory workers.

  • You hold a doctoral degree in mechanical, mechatronics or electrical engineering, or a closely related discipline.
  • You have excellent skills and practical experience in two or more of the following research areas: system dynamics and control, mechanical design, haptics, ergonomics, hydraulic actuation, servomotors, wearables, soft sensors, inflatables
  • You have good experience in designing and controlling servomechanisms.
  • You are passionate about working with companies to transfer cutting edge wearable research to the real-world.
  • You are fluent in English.
  • You are able to document accurately and neatly.

INFORMATION AND APPLICATION

You can apply through the button below, by uploading the following documents (max. 3 documents), before the end of 31st December 2019:

  • Motivation letter (1 page max). Explain (a) why you are applying, (b) what makes you an outstanding researcher for this position, and (c) experience/achievements/projects that demonstrate your qualities relevant to the project.
  • Curriculum vitae (2 pages max). List your education, work experience, relevant other activities, and date you could start working in this position. You are encouraged to include links to relevant articles/example projects you have worked on.
  • Video (2 minute max) describing your scientific interests and why you want to apply for this position. Please, include a web link for video direct download in your curriculum vitae document.
  • An essay (2 pages max) critiquing the article “Novel Accordion-Inspired Foldable Pneumatic Actuators for Knee Assistive Devices,” Fang et al. (2019) (DOI: 10.1089/soro.2018.0155). You should write your thoughts on what the article is about, the article’s key scientific contributions, flaws in the article’s work, and how the article’s work could be improved. Comment on the article’s potential contribution to actuation of the SOPHIA project’s WearBots. Please contact Allan Veale (a.j.veale@utwente.nl) if you have difficulty obtaining this article.

Note that incomplete applications (that do not include the letter, CV, video, and essay) will not be considered.

The successful candidate ideally begins 1 February 2020 or as soon as possible after that date. Submitted applications will be screened within two weeks of the application deadline, after which selected candidates will be invited for an interview (the possibility of a video interview exists).

Please contact Allan Veale (a.j.veale@utwente.nl) for additional information about this position.

Our offer

  • A fulltime (38 hours per week) postdoctoral position at the University of Twente for a duration of 24 months.
  • A salary between € 3255 and € 4274 gross per month, depending on your education and experience.
  • A beautiful and growing campus with sport facilities, opportunities for personal development, and driven colleagues.

The organization

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (ET)
is one of the five faculties of the University of Twente. ET combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centra and Digital Society Institute.

Postdoctoral position (2 years) in ergonomic haptic and force multiplying wearables for industry
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