Research Fellow in Haptic Communication and Navigation

University of Leeds

Leeds, United Kingdom

ID: 7069489 (Ref.No. EPSME1027)
Posted: September 4, 2020

Job Description

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 team working to improve the lives of disabled people through haptic technologies?

Developments in assistive technology design and production promise huge benefits for disabled people. Haptic and telepresence technologies have massive potential in this regard, enabling remote experiences that would not otherwise be possible. It is important, however that development of these technologies reflect the needs and aspirations of people with disabilities, and are made accessible to them.

This post is concerned with two international research projects involving the University of Leeds and other partners seeking to address these issues. SUITCEYES (Smart, User-friendly, Interactive, Tactual, Cognition-Enhancer, Yielding Extended Sensosphere) is a seven-university consortium funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 scheme, and concerns the use of sensor technologies and haptic interfaces to assist Deafblind people with communicating and navigating their environment. Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures (itTDf) is a Collaborative Award funded through the Wellcome Trust and led by the University of Leeds (with partners in Robotics, Design, Literary and Cultural Studies, and Philosophy) that seeks to explore the potential for technologies such as haptics and telepresence for disabled people more generally. 

Within both consortia, the University of Leeds has responsibility for the ongoing development of a toolkit of sensors and haptic feedback systems. This post will take haptic and sensor technologies developed in the early stages of the SUITCEYES project and explore their potential for use in navigating the environment; then develop these further as part of the itDf Project, exploring their application to remote interactions for telepresence purposes. Both projects have a strong user-centred design element, working with disabled people to test and refine prototypes to explore their preferences and aspirations. 

We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in mechanical engineering or mechatronics, who is interested in thinking across disciplines, and who will liaise with disabled people to inform the development of the system and explore their aspirations. You will have a PhD (or close to completion) in mechanical engineering, mechatronics or a closely allied discipline, with a strong background in obstacle detection or haptics, and significant programming experience, preferably in Python and/or C++.

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: 

Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School/Institute:  School of Mechanical Engineering
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Due to funding restrictions an appointment will not be made above £34,804 p.a.
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (Available from 01 September 2020, until 31 July 2024 (grant funding))
Release Date:  Wednesday 02 September 2020
Closing Date:  Sunday 04 October 2020
Reference:  EPSME1027

The University community is made up of a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances, which we value and regard as a great asset. As part of our continued commitment to equality and inclusion, we strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and have a real opportunity to participate in and contribute to our activities.


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