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New PhD Project: Design of new methods for interaction measurement and control of soft tissue, including vision-based feedback.

A doctoral scholarship is available for high quality candidates on the topic “Design of new methods for interaction measurement and control of soft tissue, including vision-based feedback”.

This is one of several doctoral scholarships available in the fields of Robotics and Bioengineering at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Professors from Auckland, New Zealand and Stuttgart, Germany will work together on a funded research programme on Soft Tissue Robotics where rigid robots handle soft materials, with three focus areas (i) simulation technologies, (ii) automation and control, and (iii) biological modelling and sensing. The aim of the programme is to develop new simulation technologies, actuators, sensors and controllers for novel robotic systems interacting with soft tissues. There are 10 doctoral scholarships available within the research programme, each offering a stipend of $27,300 and tuition fees of $7420 per year, for 3 years with possible extension of another 6 months. You will be supervised jointly by at least two professors from the two universities and will be expected to travel to Germany for research exchanges, joint summer schools and research seminars during your study. General enquiry can also be directed to the programme coordinator, Prof Peter Xu for Robotics (p.xu@auckland.ac.nz) and Prof Leo Cheng for Bioengineering (l.cheng@auckland.ac.nz). The applications will be closed by 30 June 2017.

Main supervisors: Professor Bruce MacDonald (University of Auckland). b.macdonald@auckland.ac.nz, Professor Dr Bernard Haasdonk (University of Stuttgart)

The aim of this project is to understand and design sensors and sensory processing methods for robotic interaction with soft tissue. This will enable accurate measurement of the state of soft tissue objects, and control of manipulations of soft tissue objects. Sensing methods will include 2D and 3D imaging techniques to sense, understand and track the shape and pose of soft tissue objects. Only by precise understanding of the soft objects to be manipulated, can accurate and appropriate control be achieved.

The main focus of the project will include soft tissue objects with components that have different characteristics, for example bone, connective tissue and muscle, which vary from animal to animal and over time. Some characteristics are therefore difficult to measure and control directly and this project will investigate the fundamentals of fusing soft tissue models created and simulated in companion PhD projects, with sensing methods, which is also known as data assimilation. The goal then is to create an accurate representation of complex soft tissue objects that can enable manipulation of the object.

This project will integrate with companion PhD projects in the program, inverting the models created so that biosignals and other fused sensor data can inform soft tissue robot manipulation controllers.

The student will work closely in the Stuttgart-Auckland group to learn the broad systems design experience and skills involved in real-world robotics sensing systems that are integrated in control and manipulation components, and how a team of advanced researchers is able to compose innovations in a combination of areas and fuse information to create innovative solutions to complex problems.

Contact: Professor Bruce MacDonald (b.macdonald@auckland.ac.nz)

Multiple doctoral scholarships are available in the fields of Robotics and Bioengineering at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Professors from Auckland, New Zealand and Stuttgart, Germany will work together on a funded research programme on Soft Tissue Robotics where rigid robots handle soft materials, with three focus areas (i) simulation technologies, (ii) automation and control, and (iii) biological modelling and sensing. The aim of the programme is to develop new simulation technologies, actuators, sensors and controllers for novel robotic systems interacting with soft tissues. There are 10 doctoral scholarships available within the research programme, each offering a stipend of $27,300 and tuition fees of $7420 per year, for 3 years with possible extension of another 6 months. You will be supervised jointly by at least two professors from the two universities and will be expected to travel to Germany for research exchanges, joint summer schools and research seminars during your study. For advice on admission and scholarship application, please contact directly the principal investigator (PI) of the project you want to join. General enquiry can also be directed to the programme coordinator, Prof Peter Xu for Robotics (p.xu@auckland.ac.nz) and Prof Leo Cheng for Bioengineering (l.cheng@auckland.ac.nz). The applications will be closed by 30 June 2017.

International Research Training Group (IRTG) on Soft Tissue Robotics

Project 1: Visualization and modelling techniques for soft tissue interactions (Prof Peter Hunter, p.hunter@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 2: Musculoskeletal atlas for personalised musculoskeletal system modelling (Prof Thor Besier, t.besier@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 3: Open-source standards (Dr Chris Bradley, c.bradley@auckland.ac.nz and Prof Peter Hunter, p.hunter@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 4: Hybrid actuation technologies for compliant robotic orthoses (Dr Andrew McDaid, andrew.mcdaid@auckland.ac.nz and Prof Shane Xie, s.xie@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 5: Parallel robotics for mastication of foods (PI: Prof Peter Xu, p.xu@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 6: Cloud-based measurement and data acquisition for industrial and cyber-physical systems (Prof Xun Xu, xun.xu@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 7: Design of new methods for interaction measurement and control of soft tissue, including vision-based feedback (Prof Bruce McDonald, b.macdonald@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 8: Novel methods for recording and analysing high-density EMG signals (Prof Leo Cheng, l.cheng@auckland.ac.nz and Dr Andrew McDaid, andrew.mcdaid@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 9: Musculoskeletal model of human gait and novel methods for real-time adaptive control algorithms using muscle force information (Prof Peter Hunter, p.hunter@auckland.ac.nz, Prof Thor Besier, t.besier@auckland.ac.nz)

Project 10: Polymer sensors and actuators for improved tactile sensing cyber-proprioception on rigid robotics (Prof Iain Anderson, i.anderson@auckland.ac.nz)

The centre for Automation and Robotics Engineering Sciences (CARES) seeks several highly motivated and talented people for postgraduate work in robotics.  The University of Auckland and UniServices are leading international research organizations in New Zealand, in the desirable city of Auckland. UniServices is Australasia’s largest commercialisation company of its kind. Owned by the University of Auckland, UniServices is responsible for all research-based consultancy partnerships and commercialisation based around the expertise of the University of Auckland.

Two postdoctoral research positions

Two postdoctoral research positions are available in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Researchers hired to fill these positions will work with a multidisciplinary research team to address fundamental knowledge representation, reasoning, and learning challenges in human-robot collaboration. These positions will provide opportunities to design, implement and evaluate novel algorithms and architectures for robots used in diverse applications such as healthcare and agricultural automation.

Essential requirements:
– Excellent doctoral dissertation in robotics, AI, or machine learning.
– Doctoral degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics or a related discipline.
– Expertise in both probabilistic robotics and logic-based AI will be considered a plus.
– Excellent programming skills.
– Prior expertise or passion for working with physical robots.

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s leading university. It has a strong international focus and is the only New Zealand member of Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, which are international consortia of research-led universities. The positions will initially be for a period of one year, with the potential to be extended for two additional years.

If you are interested, please send a brief statement summarizing your expertise and interests, along with a link to your CV and recent papers (please do *not* send email attachments), to:
Dr. Mohan Sridharan
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
The University of Auckland, New Zealand
m.sridharan@auckland.ac.nz
http://homepages.engineering.auckland.ac.nz/~smohan/

Postgraduate topics available

The following topics are available for postgraduate study. Unless mentioned postgraduate candidates need high grades in order to achieve a scholarship to cover living expenses and fees.

Design of new methods for interaction measurement and control of soft tissue, including vision-based feedback: This PhD project is part of a newly funded PhD training programme between the Universities of Auckland (NZ) and Stuttgart (Germany). Applicants must be high quality in order to obtain a scholarship. The aim of this project is to understand and design sensors and sensory processing methods for robotic interaction with soft tissue.

Dementia assistance robot design: Help in a larger project to understand the requirements for a robot to help people with dementia, to define scenarios for a dementia care robot, to implement and evaluate the scenarios. PhD (could be in robotics, healthcare, health psychology).

Orchard pollination and harvesting simulation: Create a simulation of robotic devices and orchards for kiwifruit operations (spraying pollen, harvesting fruit). ME, PhD

Lightweight inflatable arm control: A vision based arm controller for a light pneumatic arm: less expensive control using on/off valves, miniature portable air source, improved vision based control, addition of a gripper. ME, PhD (if extended)

Model generation of software applications and control for a Youbot mobile manipulation robot: Use model generation software from our partners in Germany, for generating Java based applications for robots. ME, PhD

Context Awareness System for Healthcare Assistance Robot: Introduce context awareness to our Healthcare assistance robot that helps people take medicine, measure vital signs, talk with family members or friends, and enjoy entertainment services.. ME, PhD

Emotion reaction system for robot assistants: Develop a reaction generation method that makes a facial expression, body gesture, dialogue, and movement of robot. ME, PhD

Robotic end user programming tools: Mobile service robots must be customizable when in use, by end users, and others involved in deploying the robots. A number of projects are available. ME, PhD

Vital signs measurement platform for a healthcare robot: Create a sensor manager system for vital signs measurement devices for a healthcare robot. ME, PhD (if extended to decision making)

Machine vision for verifying medication taking: Extend our current system for using 3D vision data to recognize gesture sequences for taking medication, to verify the medication has been properly taken. ME, PhD

Robogen II: healthcare robotics server for big data analysis and streaming services: For enhancing our healthcare data analysis and management of people’s health. Including machine learning and data mining, and activity data analysis. ME, PhD

Social robot companion using our human-like EveR-4 robot: Create software for our new human-like robot head EveR-4, to be a companion for people, for example a receptionist robot. ME, PhD

CONTACT

Please email your CV, transcripts and covering letter to Professor Bruce MacDonald, b.macdonald@auckland.ac.nz or Dr Ho Seok Ahn, hs.ahn@auckland.ac.nz.

Postgraduate topics available

Knowledge representation and reasoning for assistive robots/naval applications: represent and reason with different descriptions of incomplete domain knowledge and degrees of belief. ME, PhD.

Incremental and interactive learning from sensor inputs for assistive robots/air force applications: reliable and early inference of human/robot intent and action capabilities. ME, PhD.

Automated reasoning/estimation in agricultural applications: learn probabilistic models from historical data to automate estimation tasks such as irrigation scheduling and pasture measurement. Me, PhD

CONTACT

Please email your CV, transcripts and covering letter to Dr Mohan Sridharan, m.sridharan@auckland.ac.nz.