Back to search results

Senior Researcher

The University of Edinburgh - College of Science and Engineering, School of Informatics

Location: Edinburgh
Salary: £41,526 to £49,553
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 22nd July 2021
Closes: 19th August 2021
Job Ref: 1637
 

The School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh invites applications for a Senior Researcher on the EPSRC funded project GRASP, under the direction of Professor Barbara Webb.

The Opportunity:

This is a research and research leadership position on the EPSRC Established Career Fellowship grant “GRASP: An insect-inspired approach to robot grasping”. The post-holder should have a PhD in robotics or a closely related discipline. They must have excellent programming skills, a background in robot sensing and control, research experience in robot grasping, and a strong publication record in international journals and conferences. Experience of project development and project leadership in a research context, together with excellent communication, presentation and organisational skills will be required.

The post is fixed-term and available from September 2021 to August 2026.

For more information, please view the full job advert including the full project summary and job description from the University of Edinburgh’s vacancies website.

Project Summary

The current inability of robots to grasp diverse objects with efficiency and reliability severely limits their range of application. Agriculture, mining and environmental clean-up are just three examples where - unlike a factory - the items to be handled could have a huge variety of shapes and appearances, need to be identified amongst clutter, and need to be grasped firmly for transport while avoiding damage. Secure grasp of unknown objects amongst clutter remains an unsolved problem for robotics, despite improvements in 3D-sensing and reconstruction, in manipulator sophistication and the recent use of large-scale machine learning.

The GRASP project proposes a new approach inspired by the high competence exhibited by ants when performing the closely equivalent task of collecting and manipulating diverse food items. Ants have relatively simple, robot-like 'grippers' (their mouth-parts, called 'mandibles'), limited sensing (mostly tactile, using their antennae) and tiny brains. Yet they are able to pick up and carry a wide diversity of food items, from seeds to other insect prey, which can vary enormously in shape, size, rigidity and manoeuvrability. They can quickly choose between multiple items and find an effective position to make their grasp, readjusting if necessary. Replicating even part of this competence on robots would be a significant advance.

Grasping thus makes an ideal target for applying biorobotic methods and this project will address the following problems:

  • How does an ant pick up an object?
  • What happens in the ant's brain when it picks up an object?
  • Can a robot perform as well as an ant?

Principal Duties

Candidates should have a PhD in robotics or a closely related discipline. They must have excellent programming skills, a background in robot sensing and control, research experience in robot grasping, and a strong publication record in international journals and conferences. Experience of project development and project leadership in a research context, together with excellent communication, presentation and organisational skills will be required.

We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):

Location(s):

Job tools
 
 
 
More jobs from The University of Edinburgh

Show all jobs for this employer …

More jobs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended

jobs.ac.uk has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing jobs.ac.uk on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge