[robotics-worldwide] PhD opening position on Tactile Investigation for Detecting the Peripheral Neuropathy

Ferdinando Cannella Ferdinando.Cannella at iit.it
Thu Sep 13 10:48:59 PDT 2012

PhD Opening in Tactile Investigation for Detecting the Peripheral Neuropathy
Department of Advanced Robotics
Italian Institute of Technology

Theme 3.25: Development of Dynamic Investigation Test-rig Autonomous in Haptics (DITAH) for detecting the neuropathy

Tutor: Dr. Ferdinando Cannella

Number of available positions: 1
Touch and related capabilities, such as kinaesthesia, are probably the most underrated human abilities. Most researches, in fact, have concentrated on the visual and audio aspects of the sensory systems, but touch in daily life plays a fundamental role in all our actions; losing part of this sensitivity causes a problem in accomplishing even simplest tasks. The uncomfortable condition increases with the increasing of peripheral neuropathy. Therefore it is important to detect these diseases in the earliest stages, because in most cases it is impossible to recover, but it is possible only to slow them down or, in some cases, to stop them. Current physical inspections lack in objectivity and comparison among results, because they depend on the doctor' sensitivity and on empiric tests; that leads to have a very low resolution scale of illness and to identify the peripheral neuropathies only when they are full-blown. The aim of this project is to add a new device to the screening in order to make it more objective, to reduce the threshold and to record the results; this will permit not only to detect the diseases in earliest stages but even to compare the follow-up inspections determining the neuropathy progression. This device will be full of sensors to measure all the anatomic and the biometric parameters (fingertip dimensions, skin elasticity, applied force, displacement, force, etc) in order to check the state of health of the patient thanks the touch sensitivity. To build the DITAH (Dynamic Investigation Test-rig Autonomous in Haptics) the study must proceed in two different fields: the first one is about the psychophysics and/or neuroscience, because experimental tests will be carried out for collecting data to define the performance of the device; moreover, analyzing these results a more accurate scale of peripheral neuropathy diseases will be determined; the second one concerns the test-rig building, so the electronics, control and the computer programming are necessary to create a new device that is suitable for clinical use. It must be very safe, user friendly and reliable to permit a very accurate patients screening.

This work will be developed in strong collaboration with Università degli Studi di Brescia, at the Clinica Neurologica under supervision of Prof. Paolo Liberini.

Requirements: this project is open to two different PhD candidates, one with more interest in psychophysics/neuroscience and the other in control/computer programming. The candidates will work within an international environment on the development and control of the DITAH. We are ideally seeking candidates with a background in Electronic/Mechanical engineering, Physical Sciences or Robotics.

For further details concerning this research project, don't hesitate to contact ferdinando.cannella at iit.it<mailto:ferdinando.cannella at iit.it>

Application Procedure:

To apply please send a detailed CV, a statement of motivation, at least 2 reference letters, degree certificates,  transcripts of grades and any additional support material to the contact person of the selected theme. In addition, the applicants should fill the online application form at http://www.studenti.unige.it/postlaurea/dottorati/xxviiiciclo/IITen

Application deadline: September 21th, 2012 (12 noon, Italian time)

Dr Ferdinando Cannella

Team Leader
Advanced Robotics Department
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
[Italian Institute of Technology]
Via Morego, 30
16163 Genova (Italy)
t: + 39 010 71 781 562
m: +39 338 96 76 884
f: + 39 010 71 781 232

More information about the robotics-worldwide mailing list