Jobs: PhD openings in Haptic Systems at Department of Advanced Robotics, Italian Institute of Technology

PhD Openings in Haptic Systems
Department of Advanced Robotics
Italian Institute of Technology

Application deadline: September 21, 2012 (12 noon, Italian time)

The Department of Advanced Robotics ( at the Italian Institute of Technology IIT (an English language research Institute) placed in Genova has a number of PhD openings within the research area of Haptic and Interaction Technologies. The positions are fully funded and start in January 2013 (last three years). International applications are encouraged and will receive logistic support with visa issues, relocation, etc. All the successful candidates will work closely with a team of researchers working on Haptic and Interaction Technologies ( Only one position is available for each of the following themes:

Theme 3.17) Tactile sensing for robotic arms and dextrous hands

This PhD research program will focus on new tactile sensing technologies for robotic arms and dextrous robotic hands. It will involve research in both distributed pressure tactile sensing in the form of highly anthropomorphic/bio-mimetic compliant artificial skins and force sensing with semi-rigid skins in the form of high accuracy monolithic force/torque sensors. Toward artificial skins new sensor designs will be researched based on the current sensing technologies such as resistive, capacitive, piezoelectric, piezoresistive and other technologies. New methods will be sought for developing and integrating large populations of sensing elements into compliant materials suitable to operate as robotic skins. The candidate will tackle the technological challenges in connectivity, power, and the signal processing of the distributed sensor. The candidate will work closely within a team of researchers and technicians toward developing working systems with a final goal to integrate tactile sensing in humanoid platforms such as the COMAN and c-Cub robots and in dextrous teleoperation applications in platforms such as the KUKA LWR robot, the DLR hand, and the BarrettHand™. For more information contact Dr. Ioannis Sarakoglou (

Theme 3.18) Wearable haptic systems for dexterous teleoperation and virtual Immersion

This PhD program will concentrate on the development and integration of force and tactile feedback in a multi degree of freedom haptic system. The system will be based on a semi-exoskeleton design incorporating a hand exoskeleton and a grounded haptic arm with large working, volume, high back-drivability and multimodal feedback capability. Existing design directions in novel actuation systems, hand exoskeletons and tactile feedback systems developed in the department will form the foundation where this PhD theme will build toward a highly integrated wearable system for precision dextrous tele-manipulation. For more information contact Dr. Ioannis Sarakoglou (

Theme 3.19) Development of a high performance haptic tele-manipulation system

In this PhD program the candidate will focus on the development of a high performance haptic teleoperation system for the dextrous manipulation of remote objects. The candidate will work on the integration of a compliant robotic arm with a dexterous robotic hand for the remote site of the system and a hand exoskeleton with tactile feedback displays at the fingertips for the operator site of the system. The developed system must allow the user to have an intuitive control of the robot arm/hand and provide to the user high fidelity force and tactile feedback when grasping and manipulating remote objects. Therefore, the candidate will need to developed efficient and effective algorithms for generating the visual, haptic and tactile feedback, for creating the spatial mapping between the human hand and the robot hand and for addressing the time delay of the teleoperation system. Moreover, the candidate will need to work on alternative approaches to generate the tactile feedback in the tele-manipulation system. For more information contact Dr. Nadia Garcia (

Theme 3.20) Development of a multimodal VR platform for a haptic hand exoskeleton

In this PhD program the candidate will work in the development of a high performance multimodal VR platform for grasping, manipulating and exploring virtual objects using a multi-fingered hand exoskeleton. The fingertips of the hand exoskeleton have integrated tactile feedback displays. The candidate will focus on the creation of efficient and effective algorithms, based on multi-point and soft-finger contact interactions, which will enable a realistic haptic interaction with rigid and deformable virtual objects. The developed algorithms must solve the following issues: (1) mapping the kinematics of the virtual hand, the human hand and the hand exoskeleton (2) precise collision detection between the virtual hand and rigid/deformable virtual objects, (3) generation of high fidelity tactile and force feedback to the user fingertips and (4) robust control of the hand exoskeleton and fingertip tactile displays. For more information contact Dr. Nadia Garcia (

Application Requirements:

Interested candidates holding a Master degree in Mechanical / Electrical engineering, computer science, or other related fields are invited to apply for admission. Applicants should be highly motivated and goal oriented. They should have the ability to work independently as well as a team.

Application Procedure:

To apply please send a detailed CV, a statement of motivation, at least 2 reference letters, degree certificates, transcripts of grades and any additional support material to the contact person of the selected theme. In addition, the applicants should fill the online application form at no later than the 21st of September 2012.

For additional information:

For further details concerning these themes see the technical Annex A4 in the link or write to the contact person of the selected theme.

Application deadline: September 21, 2012 (12 noon, Italian time)


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