[robotics-worldwide] Open position for full time research MSc Student: Motion planning and control in uncertain, deformable environments

Cecilia Tapia cice.tapia at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 02:14:12 PDT 2012

Motion planning and control in uncertain, deformable environments

*The Institute of Medical Science and Technology – University of Dundee,
has a fully funded opening for a full time 1 year Masters by research (MSc)
*. This work will be developed as part of the FP7 funded CODIR project and
in close collaboration with CSIRO-Australia. *

*Stipend: 14500 £.*

*The University of Dundee student research fees (for UK and EU citizens)
will be provided. Travel expenses to CSIRO Australia will be covered as

*Non EU applicants please contact
**s.tapiasiles at dundee.ac.uk*<s.tapiasiles at dundee.ac.uk>
* for more information.*


Research subject

Colorectal cancer has become a major healthcare problem with over 1 million
new cases diagnosed annually worldwide. There is an urgent need for new
early stage screening and detection systems that are both cost-effective
and patient friendly. The 5-year EU-funded CODIR project (http://codir.org/)
has been set up to address this problem through the development a novel
semi-autonomous robot for colonic investigation and early diagnosis. The
project is led by the eminent surgeon Professor Sir Alfred Cuschieri. The
objective is to create a patient-friendly system for inspection of the
colon, under the control of a clinician operating a robot.

The Master’s research work aims to generate algorithmic solutions for
motion planning and control of semi-autonomous generic robot devices inside
hollow human organs.  The targeted environment is the colon, although this
could be extended to other organs as the objective is to generate adaptive
behaviors based on fluid and tissue interaction with the device, in which
low organ stiffness is a critical issue.

The methodology proposed is based on modeling and simulation of 3
dimensional deformable tissues in interaction with fluids (including
turbulent two phase fluid environments) and generic rigid body devices. The
first part would be boosted by collaboration with Australia's national
science agency (CSIRO http://www.csiro.au/)  which will provide us with a
mechanically realistic simulation of the colon that is used for actual
colonoscopy training devices.  The models and simulations obtained will be
constantly validated and updated by experiments in physical phantoms of the
colon and Thiel cadavers. These “mechanical models” are equipped with
sensors and linked to data acquisition systems and are under continuous
development by the CODIR team.

In the first semester the student will focus on the interaction between the
organ’s wall, the fluid and the generic robot, formulating and validating
an appropriate tool to host the generic motion algorithms.  In the
following semester the student will develop the motion planning and control
algorithms for this dynamic environment. The student will have access to
IMSAT and the University of Dundee facilities in order to perform
experiments. These facilities include, amongst others, access to Thiel
embalmed human cadavers and animal organs, a fully equipped mechanical
workshop and 3d prototyping printers. In addition, the student will use the
novel robots which are being developed for the CODIR project, in order to
test and validate his/her research work.

The potential of this research lies in the concept that improvements in
modeling and simulation can enable more accurate and robust pre- and
intra-operative planning. In addition, semi-autonomous devices that can
safely navigate and find their way inside dynamically changing environments
can increase the success rate of inherently uncertain surgical
(*e.g.*colonic) interventions.

IMSaT (http://www.imsat.org/) is a well-equipped research institute located
close to Ninewells Hospital, a major medical school in Dundee, Scotland.
The IMSaT staff in general, and the CODIR team in particular, enjoy a happy
and thriving research environment with good funding and many opportunities
for aspiring and talented students from all over the world.


How to apply

Candidates should have, or expect to have a first class or good upper
second class degree (or equivalent international qualifications) in
engineering. They must meet the standard of English language level required
for postgraduate research, which is typically 6.5 overall in the IELTS test
(please check

To apply please send an email, quoting “CODIR MSc” in the email subject, to
Dr. Cecilia Tapia (s.tapiasiles at dundee.ac.uk). The email should include a
single pdf file containing:

·         Motivation letter

·         Short cv

·         Transcripts of all university studies with translation into

For consideration, apply by 16.07.2012

For further information please contact Dr. Cecilia Tapia:
s.tapiasiles at dundee.ac.uk

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