BC: 69409- 69410- 69411
Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher
Job title: Marie Curie Fellow
Post: position with an enrolment on a doctoral training programme
The Department of Advanced Robotics (ADVR) at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – IIT (an English speaking Institute) located in Genoa is seeking to appoint 3 Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in the framework of the FP7 Marie Curie ITN Smart-E (Sustainable Manufacturing through Advanced Robotics Training in Europe).
SMART-E is a Doctoral Training Network, funded by the EU Commission’s FP7 Marie Curie Programme, with the aim to prepare the next generation of leading experts in advanced robotics to secure a sustainable manufacturing sector in Europe.
The network involves the collaboration of eight European institutions – the University of Salford, University of Zurich, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Technical University of Munich, FESTO, Airbus and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield.
The network is bringing together leading experts in the field of embodied intelligence, compliant, soft robotics, advanced manufacturing, industrial robotics and automation, smart materials and machine learning in Europe. You will utilise new technologies (mostly pioneered by SMART-E) in state of the art training environments.
The successful candidate will benefit from high quality industrial experience and interdisciplinary projects that are individually tailored. The research training programme will combine technical expertise acquisition with business & leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills in order to provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle not only the technical challenges, but also to play a key role in embedding/deploying these solutions into practical applications.
The researchers will have at least 2 placements outside of their host organisation; this may entail a short stay outside their host country.
Theme 1: Development and control of robot manipulators for safer physical human robot interaction.
The focus of this research is the design optimization, development and control of a novel compliant manipulator and related actuation systems with variable physical damping actuators (VPDA, http://www.iit.it/en/advr-labs/humanoids-a-human-centred-mechatronics/advr-humanoids-projects/variable-physical-damping-actuators.html) for robust, fast, adaptable and damage-safe motions and interactions. The target is to improve the capabilities of the existing CompAct™ arm (http://www.iit.it/en/robots/compact-arm.html) by exploring both the mechatronic technological limits (structural materials, actuation and sensing) and new design and control philosophies towards the development of high performance manipulation systems. The Department of Advanced Robotics at IIT possesses a strong industrial know how in this field with 5+ patents.
In detail, the main goals of the project are to:
- improve VIA technology and develop actuators that are more robust, more stable, have reduced oscillatory behaviour, lower cost, have less friction and wear, etc.
- focus on the introduction of, and improvements in, other physical impedance parameters, e.g. damping or effective inertia through techniques originally developed for the VPDA,
- build a prototype of the upper body of a robot for physically interactive manipulation testing and to compare mature technologies for lightweight robots (KUKA LWR) with VIA and VPDA technologies.
The resulting developed systems will be capable of:
- more safely co‐existing and co‐operating with people (co-workers) and other robots;
- attain performance levels more commonly associated with humans.
For further information on this topic contact
Theme 2: Development of a high performance haptic tele-manipulation system
Interaction between humans and machines, particularly safe interaction, is a critical aspect of robotics. The focus of this research is the development of high fidelity user interfaces for telepresence and teleoperation that can rival the human hand in terms of manipulating dexterity, see http://www.iit.it/en/advr-labs/haptic-and-interaction-technologies.html. Within this research new haptic technologies and techniques will be applied to the control and operation of the COMAN humanoid (http://www.iit.it/en/advr-labs/humanoids-a-human-centred-mechatronics/advr-humanoids-projects/compliant-humanoid-platform-coman.html) and particular to the development of a high performance, teleoperation system that will use enhanced levels of haptic feedback to ensure accurate, high precision and dexterous control and manipulation of remote objects using a COMAN as the remote system.
The main goals of the project are to:
- enhance the nature of the operator interface at the remote and the user site
- at the remote site to use a compliant torque controlled robot arm to improve control accuracy,
- at the user site to develop high accuracy hand exoskeletons, finger tip tactile displays and tele-impedance control to augment the user experience and improve transparency.
Within the framework of a teleoperation platform the ESR will work on:
- development of algorithms for visual, haptic and tactile feedback,
- spatial mapping between the human hand and the robot hand and
- addressing the time delay of the teleoperation system.
For further information on this topic contact
Theme 3: Dexterous Human-robot collaborative manipulation through Learning using compliant robots within unstructured spaces
The recent development of compliant robots such as COMAN (http://www.iit.it/en/advr-labs/humanoids-a-human-centred-mechatronics/advr-humanoids-projects/compliant-humanoid-platform-coman.html) has opened up a host of new research possibilities in human-robot interaction and robot learning. Now, robots need not be behind fences (as in large manufacturing plants), and are increasingly capable of executing tasks in collaboration with human users. Such human-robot collaboration requires drastic changes in the way robots move, learn, react, and physically interact with the users and environment and this flexibility should be in the software as much as the hardware, i.e. flexibility through learning.
This work will address research themes related to the problem of transferring bimanual collaborative manipulation skills to robots in a user-friendly manner. Such skills involve rich and diverse research questions such as passive/active roles switching, leader/follower behaviours, specialization, turn-taking, compliance, inter-agent synchronization, action anticipation, intention recognition in joint action and the use of non-verbal cues to communicate intent. These issues will be studied in two contexts: 1) with bidirectional social teaching interaction with the compliant humanoid robot COMAN; 2) within a manufacturing scenario with an innovative setup based on two 7 DOFs compliant manipulators with sensorized hands.
The goals of the project are to:
- Develop a dexterous semi-autonomous teleoperation schemes for compliant Robot operating in not well defined spaces with uncertain physical interactions.
- Cope and learn to adapt to collisions and physical interactions .
- Exploration of haptics in teleoperation of compliant robots for improving performance as well for providing guidance to the operator in the context of bidirectional coupling.
- Development of data and knowledge fusion technique for the dexterous manipulation to learn how to detect collisions and react to physical interactions
- Development of a refined control model for flexible regulation of stiffness and damping behaviours of the compliant robot
For further information on this topic contact
Key eligibility criteria for the post: eligibility and mobility
To be eligible, the candidate must simultaneously fulfill the following criteria at the time of recruitment:
- Nationality: The candidate may be of any nationality.
- Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment under the project. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
- Qualifications and research experience: At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have yet been awarded a doctorate degree; and they must not have had more than 4 year of full time professional research experience. The candidate must have as a minimum an excellent Master degrees in Mechatronics / Mechanical / Electrical engineering, or other related fields.
Salary will be according to the rules for Early Stage Researchers set out in the FP7 People Work programme 2008, including living and mobility allowance (this may vary according to the family situation of the researcher).
Further information about Marie Curie projects can be found at the following link: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/mariecurieactions/home_en.html
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and detailed Curriculum Vitae to Darwin Caldwell (
) (Ref: ESR Marie Curie) with a deadline of Saturday 31 May 2014.
The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, with headquarters in Genova, Italy, is a non-profit institution with the primary goal of creating and disseminating scientific knowledge and strengthening Italy’s technological competitiveness. The institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and a top-level interdisciplinary research environment focused on robotics and computer vision, neuroscience, drug discovery, and nanoscience and -technology.
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The Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.