PhD Position: Dynamics and control of interacting flexible robots

Updated: 4 months ago
Deadline: 30 Jan 2022

Are you interested in the dynamics and control of flexible robots for safe interaction? The Precision Engineering lab is currently seeking a PhD student on this topic! The goal of this 4-year project is to create control systems for flexible robots to interact with their environment and humans, in a deterministic and safe way.

The precision engineering group is part of the Department Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces & Systems (MS3) of the faculty of Engineering Technology (ET) and we participate in the new Robotics Centre at the University of Twente. We generate fundamental knowledge and translate this knowledge into solutions for multidisciplinary technical problems. The industrial and societal relevance of the research is secured by close collaboration with industry and the public sector.

The Challenge

Classically robots are used for industrial production in a well-defined environment and separated from humans. Future robots will operate in unstructured environments in industrial, agricultural, medical, or even domestic settings, where they might interact with humans. These robots should be aware of their surroundings and provide safe interaction. This requires robots to be more flexible, both from their mechanics as well as their control systems.

The Precision Engineering group is experienced in deterministic compliant mechanisms for applications in the high-tech industry. These mechanisms are potentially very suited for controlled interaction; the mechanical compliance is beneficial for safe passive interaction, while the deterministic behavior enables predictable interaction and environmental awareness. We use advanced in-house developed software is to efficiently predict and optimize the nonlinear flexible multibody mechanics of the compliant mechanisms. This software is also suited for control design. Besides the aforementioned expertise of the group, the research can also benefit from the expertise on human-robot interaction for haptic telemanipulation, rehabilitation and surgery in other groups participating in the Robotics Centre.

This project strives to develop control systems for deterministic and safe interaction, exploiting the benefits of compliant mechanisms and the available flexible multibody software. It is envisioned that the research results can be used to build robots for society, for example high-speed robots collaborating with humans or flexure-based grippers handling delicate agricultural products.

Please note that this vacancy is open to female scientists only. This is part of the University of Twente's strategy to increase the proportion of women among its faculty and to create a working environment that is diverse and inclusive and supportive of excellence in research and teaching.

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