[visionlist] UCD, Ireland. Postdoc: Tactile Biomechanics and Neuroscience: How Do Humans Feel Friction? (2 years, temporary)

Stephen Redmond stephen.redmond at ucd.ie
Fri Jun 7 06:36:12 -04 2019

Postdoc position: Tactile Biomechanics and Neuroscience: How Do Humans Feel
Friction? (2 years, temporary)

Location: UCD Dublin, Ireland
PI: Prof Stephen Redmond

Background: Prosthetic and robotic hands demonstrate poor dexterity during
object manipulation, often dropping objects. Humans rarely allow objects to
slip because we can sense if an object is slippery and adjust our grip. In
recent years, while we have learned more about the biomechanics and
neuroscience underpinning our ability to sense friction, there is still
much to learn. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given how poorly we understand human
friction sensing, very little research has been directed at replicating
this ability to sense friction or slipperiness in artificial sensors. This
research program has three work packages: (WP1) To advance our
understanding of how humans sense friction; (WP2) To demonstrate, using a
number of friction-based tactile sensor prototypes currently under
development by our research groups in Dublin and Sydney, that friction
sensing leads to improved dexterity in robotic manipulation; (WP3) To use
advanced design, manufacturing, and instrumentation methods to miniaturise
the proposed sensors to a scale similar to a human finger pad. The outcomes
of this research, which would endow artificial hands with the ability to
feel the slipperiness and/or impending loss of grip of a grasped object,
could significantly advance the fields of prosthetics, telesurgery, and
service, agricultural, and manufacturing robotics.

Position description: The employee will contribute to WP1 of the program,
studying the biomechanics and neurophysiology of human touch as it relates
to sensation of friction. Duties include:

Run experiments to study the biomechanical behaviour of our finger pad skin
when subjected to varying normal and shearing (tangential) forces to
understand what mechanisms may allow use to sense the friction of objects
we touch;
Contribute to microneurography experiments, acquiring tactile afferent
signals from the median nerve in humans at the level of the wrist, to study
how tactile afferents respond to friction-related biomechanical events on
the finger pad when gripping objects;
Clean (filtering, spike sorting) and analyse (regression through to
multivariate machine learning) of ensembles of neurological data to
correlate neurological signals with biomechanical events.

Supervision and research environment: The position will report to Prof
Stephen Redmond (School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCD

Salary: €37,223 per annum. The duration of the appointment is two years
(temporary). The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland’s
President of Ireland Future Research Leaders Award, held by Prof Redmond.
Both tactile sensor design work packages are also partly supported by US
Office of Naval Research Global funding held by Prof Redmond and Dr Heba
Khamis at UNSW (Sydney, Australia).

How to apply: Visit https://www.ucd.ie/workatucd/jobs/  -> “External
Applicants” -> “Search by Reference Number”… Use job reference number:

Kind regards,

Prof Stephen Redmond
Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Future Research Leader
UCD School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
E: stephen.redmond at ucd.ie
W: http://www.ucd.ie/eleceng/
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