Loughborough University

Research Associate in Advanced Assistive XR

Loughborough University

Full Time, Fixed Term for 32 months

Here’s more about the role and what we’re looking for:

We are seeking a creative and enthusiastic researcher to be part of a new exciting £20m aerospace project being led by Airbus to research and develop future advanced manufacturing systems.

This project will involve the use of smart network-enabled assembly tooling for manufacturing large components such as commercial aircraft wings.  This is an excellent opportunity to become involved with the integration of Industry 4.0 technologies including networked enabled tooling, Internet of things, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning, and other information technologies.

By supporting complex human operator tasks (such as drilling, fastening, quality inspection, worker task completion and remote collaboration) at the point of operation there is potential for significant operational benefit in terms of reduced rework and increased production rate.

Loughborough University is responsible for developing the associated advanced assistive visualization solutions involving eXtended Reality (XR), also known as Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality. This is a crucial role where the objective is to develop XR systems to assist/guide operators to perform complex manual tasks associated with large scale manufactured components by providing spatially aligned information/graphical overlays and virtual target markers.

Key element of research will involve creating augmented reality type visualizations that provide at point of operation information overlays. Accuracy of the ‘projected’ information display will be critical – the research will investigate requirements and acceptable tolerances for the static and dynamic accuracy of the augmented display.  The visual (possibly audio) information presented to the user will be tailored to the specific task in hand and will provide detailed task instructions as well as the means to capture and communicate with experts or approval authorities. A further innovation is the close integration of the visualization technologies with machine learning to provide intelligent task navigation, tasking information and a record of work undertaken for concession approval.

An important aspect of this role is to consider the human factors issues associated with deploying XR technology and how this will inform the design of effective XR displayed information.

Funding has been received to acquire the very best XR systems that will eventually be deployed in an Airbus factory environment. During the project you will have an opportunity to spend periods of time at Airbus to undertake integration testing and human factors evaluations of the XR visualization technologies.

You’ll work alongside another researcher who will develop the visualization platform that will support the XR display system.

Key Requirements:

  • Practical experience (ideally at a higher level) of programming in a modern computing language
  • Experience of human factors, ideally user interfaces
  • Experience of working to tight deadlines
  • Demonstrate excellent communication and team interpersonal skills.
  • Experience of developing VR based applications and good understand of systems engineering would be desirable
  • A minimum of 2:1 or Masters Engineering or Computer Science or a preferably a PhD Degree (or approaching completion of a PhD) in engineering, or relevant computing subject

Find out more about the Research opportunities we have on offer on our dedicated Microsite .

Closing date for applications: 17th April 2023

A copy of the job description and person specification is available here 

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Roy S. Kalawsky, via email to r.s.kalawsky@lboro.ac.uk or by telephone to 01509 635678

Our Benefits

  • Generous annual leave allowance up to 44 days p.a. (inclusive of Bank Holidays & University Closure Days)
  • Competitive pension schemes
  • A range of childcare support initiatives and benefits including childcare vouchers; on-site university nursery (with salary sacrifice scheme); and holiday play schemes.
  • We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies.
  • BUPA Cash Plan (100 scheme)
  • Employee Assistance Programme
  • Season ticker loan scheme
  • On campus parking with charging points for electric vehicles
  • Fantastic range of sports facilities and preferential membership packages available
  • Fantastic CPD, Linkedin learning and inclusive resources for development