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  3. PhD in Haptic Skins for Robot Touch Sensing

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PhD in Haptic Skins for Robot Touch Sensing

Visual robot perception has grown tremendously in the last ten years. Artificial neural networks allow to reliably classify objects and segment structures …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


de Rondom, Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur


Visual robot perception has grown tremendously in the last ten years. Artificial neural networks allow to reliably classify objects and segment structures from RGB images. Moreover, they allow for 3D pose estimation for robot navigation and manipulation in partially structured/unstructured environments. However, vision alone is not sufficient. Versatile interaction with unstructured environments requires a new generation of robots fully exploiting also touch and proprioception (perception of own movement and associated effort). Combining complementary touch and vision information leads to a better world interpretation. Touch sense enables the 3D modeling of unseen parts of the environment as well as object mass, inertia, and friction estimation. To make this possible, new generation intelligent haptic skins need to be developed. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with visuo-tactile sensing will improve robot decision making, bringing a robotic arm's motions and behavior closer to human capabilities.

This project is sponsored by the Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI).

I.Touch2See Project

The project I.Touch2See involves four departments of the TU/e (Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science, and Industrial Engineering & Innoviation Sciences), collaborating to develop groundbreaking robotics technologies to improve robotic perception for manipulation in unstructured enviroments. The PhD student will have ample opportunities for interaction within the project's principal investigators and the other 2 PhD students involved in the project.

Your duties

As a PhD researcher from the Integrated Circuits group, you will focus on developing haptic skins from hardware perspective, to enable a new concept of robot touch sensing. Flexible Electronics will be used to fabricate lightweight distributed thin-film force sensors on a plastic substrate. You will then design a dedicated Silicon Integrated Chip (Si-IC) to readout the raw signals generated by the haptic skin. The Si-IC will also integrate Artificial Intelligence functionalities (on hardware) to enable event-driven tactile sensing and low-latency feature extraction, prior signal digitalization. This knowledge will be then utilized in combination with robot visual and proprioception sensing by two fellow PhD researchers in your team, to create a 3D scene representation of the real world, estimating 3D shape and dynamical properties (friction, stiffness, mass, ...) of objects present in the environment.

Your job will be to investigate new research opportunities merging Artificial Intelligence with Microelectronics in the field of robotics. More in the specific, your main tasks will be:

  • Design of the haptic skin and the Si-IC readout electronics;
  • Develop prototypes for haptic skin characterizations and its use in real application scenario;
  • Generation of training data (ground truth) for touch sensing;
  • Dissemination of the results of your research in international and peer-reviewed journals and conferences; 
  • Get involved in educational tasks such as the supervision of Master/Bachelor students and internships;
  • Writing a dissertation based on the research outcome and successfully defending it.


We are looking for a candidate who meets at least some of the following requirements:

  • You are a talented and enthusiastic young researcher.
  • You hold a MSc degree in Electrical Engineering or related field.
  • You have a strong background in Integrated Circuit (IC) design.
  • You have knowledge of machine learning algorithms, neural and/or Bayesian networks.
  • You have good programming skills (preferably Python or MATLAB).
  • Previous knowledge of robot dynamics and control is a plus
  • You have good communication skills and can work in a multidisciplinary team.

You will need to have a good proficiency in spoken and written English; knowledge of Dutch is not required.


  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called '30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Additional information


The Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute (EAISI) was established in the summer of 2019 as a cross-departmental institute that brings together all AI activities of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). EAISI stimulates, supports, and organizes collaboration between TU/e AI researchers and companies and societal partners. EAISI's goal is to stimulate multidisciplinary AI research on the combination of three of TU/e's traditionally strong research domains of Data Science, Humans and Ethics, and Engineering Systems. EAISI aims to develop AI technology for autonomous decision-making in engineering systems that interact with and support humans. Working for EAISI means you are supported in creating new and exciting AI applications with a direct and positive impact on the real world, especially focusing on the application areas of health, mobility and high-tech industry.


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is one of Europe's leading research universities. The Eindhoven area, in the southern part of the Netherlands, is one of Europe's top 'innovation ecosystems', with many high-tech companies and institutes. TU/e is intertwined with many of these companies and institutes, and research at TU/e is characterized by a combination of academic excellence, industrial relevance and societal interweaving.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!


We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. Marco Fattori, email M.Fattori[ad]tue.nl or dr. Alessandro Saccon, email A.Saccon[ad]tue.nl.

For information about terms of employment, click here or email HRServices.Flux[at]tue.nl.

Please visit www.tue.nl/jobs to find out more about working at TU/e!


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page.
The application should include a:
  • a cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position
  • a list of courses and grades from your Master's programme
  • a detailed curriculum vitae
  • a scientific report in English, written by yourself (e.g. MSc thesis, traineeship report or scientific paper)
  • two references (name, affiliation, and contact information).

We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary, please combine files.