One Post Doc in Analysis and control of novel lower limb prosthetic systems - [ Postdoc ]

Workplace: Genova, IIT
Added on: 04/10/2018 - Expires on: 05/11/2018

The Rehab Technologies Lab, (http://rehab.iit.it/) at Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT - https://www.iit.it/), Genova, Italy, is seeking to appoint one Postdoctoral Researcher to carry out research on the control of lower limb prosthetic systems.

State-of-the-art lower limb prosthetic systems are generally semi-active (so-called ‘electronic’ prostheses). These typically employ inertial sensors, force sensors and encoders to estimate the configuration of the user during gait and activity being performed, and use this information to control the mechanical impedance of the joint. Active prostheses are similarly feedback controlled, but also provide an active power boost/assist to the patient for tasks which otherwise would be difficult or impossible. Thus, the control algorithm must detect the patient’s activity and phase of gait, and appropriately modulate actuator power to execute a diverse range of tasks.

Control design that satisfies the expectations and needs of the patient will be a key differentiating factor for advanced prostheses, and will drive adoption of the product over competitors in the market. We also believe that achieving the goals of safety, predictability, naturalness (biomimicry) and personalization will require a comprehensive integration of the fields of human-machine interaction (HMI), neuromechanics, physiology, and control system design. This could lead to improvements in, for example, prosthesis functionalities (e.g. by reducing the articular stress of the user/prosthesis, and by realizing biomechanics that can mimic that of a healthy subject).

The aim of this project is to develop novel control architectures and control strategies to display required volitional and reflex behavior with the characteristics of safety/robustness, fluidity, predictability, and reduced training time for the patients. These algorithms are to be tested on the range of prosthetic prototypes that we are developing in-house. Tools that may be applied include neuromusculoskeletal modelling, sensor selection, system identification, machine learning and robust control design. This will contribute to the technical progress of the IIT experimental prosthetic devices, which will be evaluated by means of bench tests, biomechanical prototypes, and possibly tested on amputee patients.

Rehab Technologies Lab is an innovation lab jointly created by IIT and INAIL to develop new high tech prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitation devices of high social impact and market potential. The Lab is primarily focused on disability and rehabilitation, and exploits a co-creation process which involves scientists, patients and therapists in all the phases of the design, realization and testing of devices developed within the lab.

Among the devices recently developed in our lab there are a polyarticulated prosthetic hand (Hannes), a motorized exoskeleton for paraplegic subjects (Twin) and a rehabilitation robot for the lower limbs and trunk (Hunova). In addition, Rehab Technologies Lab is currently working on prostheses for lower and upper limbs and robotic rehabilitation systems for neurological patients such as post stroke and multiple sclerosis patients.

The Rehab Technologies Lab has a strong expertise in robotics, innovative tools for the acquisition of surface EMG signals, signal processing of neural signals (LFPs, spikes, EEG, EMG), and open/closed-loop systems for neuroprosthetic applications in humans.

The project will be carried out at the Rehab Technologies Lab of IIT. It will be a technological challenge in which the Rehab Technologies team will share resources, competencies and motivation to achieve excellent results transferable to the medical field. We are looking for a highly motivated, outstanding candidate with the following profile:

  • a solid background in controls/biomedical/mechatronic engineering, with focus on locomotion control
  • PhD in related field
  • Publication record showing evidence of strong expertise in the field, or relevant industrial experience

During this period, the postdoctoral researcher will develop the following skills and experience:

  • Autonomously analyze the control requirements of complex prosthetic devices during gait and other non-cyclical activities.
  • Develop practical control architectures and strategies to implement control designs
  • Work in a real-world scenario by operating with both engineers and clinicians
  • Develop a solid background in medical and prosthetic devices

To apply, please send your CV, publication list, cover letter and name and contacts of two referees to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  keeping This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in cc., using “Post-Doc application – Prosthesis Control CB 75932 - 75933” as subject of the mail.

Deadline: November 5, 2018

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), with its 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, nanoscience and technology.

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia is an Equal Opportunity Employer that actively seeks diversity in the workforce.

Please note that the data that you provide will be used exclusively for the purpose of  professional profiles’ evaluation and selection, and in order to meet the requirements of Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

Your data will be processed by Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, based in Genoa, Via Morego 30, acting as Data Controller, in compliance with the rules on protection of personal data, including those related to data security.

Please also note that, pursuant to articles 15 et. seq. of European Regulation no. 679/2016 (General Data Protection Regulation), you may exercise your rights at any time by contacting the Data Protection Officer (phone +39 010 71781 - email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.