PhD Candidate

Developing arm-hand training tools based on minimally-actuated ultra-low-cost portable robotic haptic devices  | 1.0 FTE

About this position

This project aims to enhance at-home arm-hand exercise by developing training tools based on minimally-actuated ultra-low-cost portable robotic haptic devices. Wearable sensors and immersive VR/AR visualization might support and strengthen the application and use of such tools. Key characteristics of your solutions are the provision of personalized physical assistance and somatic (tactile+proprioceptive) sensation to practice meaningful functional tasks, measurement of the quality of task performance, realistic simulation of real/imaginary activities of daily living, adaptation to the patient’s needs and capabilities, and enhancement of the patient’s motivation and reduction of his/her cognitive load.

To reach the project aim, you will meet three key objectives:

  1. Develop low-cost minimally actuated hand haptic robots with fine somatic/haptic capabilities. You will equip the novel solutions with newly developed advanced controllers and cutaneous force feedback displays to provide congruent somatosensory stimulation during assisted training to enhance rehabilitation and reduce the patients’ cognitive load.
  2. Develop and exploit more naturalistic and motivating virtual environments. You will explore the potential of immersive VR using off-the-shelf head-mounted displays to enhance motivation by exploiting a more naturalistic visualization of the patient’s movements using first-person perspective and virtual avatars.
  3. Exploit the use of wearable sensors to track the quality of the arm and trunk movements of the patients and provide real-time feedback about their performance.

 

Profile

You are a highly motivated candidate with a MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, System and Control, Human Factors, or Biomedical Engineering.

Further you have:

  •  open-mindedness and motivation to embark on interdisciplinary research;
  • hands-on mechanical design and development skills;
  • affinity with health care and improving functioning of patients;
  • solid programming skills;
  • the ability to take initiative;
  • affinity with teaching and supervising students;
  • good English speaking and writing skills

Candidates with a strong track record in rehabilitation robotics, control, and human-robot interaction are especially encouraged to apply. In addition, experience with one or more of the following topics is considered a plus: motor learning, computer graphics, and movement science.

About this Flagship

The Convergence Human Mobility Center (CHMC) brings together technicians, clinical experts, socio-medical researchers, patients and industrial partners. Together we will build on technology-based interventions for minimally supervised motor rehabilitation at home and under minimal supervision of a therapist in the rehabilitation center. Motion sensors inform patients and their therapists about recovery and progress of treatment. Home exercise will be supported by easy-to-use robots with challenging (virtual) exercise programs tailored to the patient. These developments are emphatically done in collaboration with vulnerable groups so that they too benefit fully from this new form of rehabilitation. The future impact goes beyond the stroke population and will include diseases like multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease and osteoarthritis.

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What we offer

You will be employed by Erasmus MC. We offer:

  • a challenging position within the largest University Medical Center (UMC) in the Netherlands with high ambitions in the field of healthcare, education and research;
  • you will receive a temporary position for 4 years;
  • the gross monthly salary is € 2.631,- in the 1st year and increases to € 3.336,- in the 4th year (scale OIO), based on 36-hour work week;
  • excellent fringe benefits, such as a 13th month that is already paid out in November and an individual travel expense package;
  • pension insurance with ABP. We take care of approximately 2/3 of the monthly contribution;
  • special benefits, such as an in company physiotherapist and bicycle repairer. And there is also a gym where you can work on your fitness after work.

About Convergence

The pressing and complex social challenges of our time call for convergence; crossing boundaries between institutions and disciplines to create new perspectives and solutions. For this reason TU Delft, Erasmus MC and Erasmus University Rotterdam are joining forces in Convergence. Within the convergence theme Health & Technology we form new frameworks that promote scientific discoveries and technological innovation in health and healthcare. We do this by working on groundbreaking research and innovation bundled in 10 international leading research flagships.

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Additional information

For more information about this position please contact:

Dr. Laura Marchal-Crespo, project supervisor: l.marchalcrespo@tudelft.nl, +31 634188350

Dr. Hans Bussmann, project supervisor: j.b.j.bussmann@erasmusmc.nl, +31 624509480

Prof. Dr. Gerard Ribbers, program leader:   g.ribbers@erasmusmc.nl, +31 615300501

Dr. Agaath Sluijter MHBA, program manager: a.sluijter@erasmusmc.nl, +31 621804367

If your CV fits to the position, you will be invited for an interview with your supervisors. If this interview goes well there will be a second interview with the program leader Prof. Dr. Gerard Ribbers and the program manager, Dr. Agaath Sluijter. Working part time i.e. 4 days / 5 year position is a possibility.

Apply for this position

Please send your application for this position, together with your motivation letter, curriculum vitae, publications in pdf-form (if applicable), grades lists of your bachelor and master degree and two or three references before February 8 2023 to:

healthandtechnology@convergence.nl