Research Fellow in Haptic Communication and Navigation

University of Leeds - Faculty of Engineering - School of Mechanical Engineering - Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation

Do you have a strong background in mechanical engineering or mechatronics with an interest in assistive technologies? Would you like to work as part of a multidisciplinary European consortium working to improve the lives of Deafblind People?

Deafblindness - the combination of hearing and visual impairments – has a massive impact on independence and quality of life, and is becoming more common as the population ages. Communication and the ability to navigate the environment are particular challenges that limit the ability to be independent and control one’s life. The last decade has seen many advances in computer vision, navigation aids and the accessibility of technology, but this still rarely been used to address the needs of deafblind people.

SUITCEYES (Smart, User-friendly, Interactive, Tactual, Cognition-Enhancer, Yielding Extended Sensosphere) is a consortium funded by the European Union through its Horizon 2020 scheme which hopes to address this problem by appropriating sensor technologies, machine learning, gamification and smart haptic interfaces. It brings together experts in assistive technology, haptic feedback, wearable devices, gamification and disability studies to develop new methods for enabling communication and navigation for deafblind people.

Within this consortium, the University of Leeds will be responsible for developing a sensor array to detect obstacles, and provide appropriate haptic feedback to the user to support navigation of an environment without the need for visual or audio information. This will then be combined with work from the other partners in the consortium to form a ‘smart garment’ that can be worn to support deafblind individuals.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in mechanical engineering or mechatronics, including writing code to interface sensors and actuators, who will liaise with deafblind people and their carers to inform the design of the system.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Raymond Holt, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 7936 or email: 

Please note that the University is closed for the Christmas break from Thursday 21st December 2017 and reopens on Tuesday 2nd January 2018. We are therefore unable to respond to any queries relating to your application during this time.

Further information

The Faculty of Engineering is proud to have been awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award from the Equality Challenge Unit, the national body that promotes equality in the higher education sector. Our equality and inclusion webpage provides more information.

Location: Leeds - Main Campus
Contract Type: Fixed Term (Up to 36 months, available from 1 January 2018, to end by 31 December 2020)

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Northern England