[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD position in Robotics/Biomechanics at NTU, Singapore

Quang-Cuong Pham cuong.pham at normalesup.org
Wed Mar 19 23:26:21 PDT 2014

One fully-funded PhD position (4 years) is available at the School of
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, NTU, Singapore. The position
description is below. Note however that the successful candidate will
enjoy a large freedom of research (and also an attentive guidance by the

*Biomechanics of running : a robotics perspective*

The objective of this thesis is to provide a novel understanding of the
interaction between the foot and the ground during running and to build
upon this understanding to design a robotic device to test running shoes.

To reproduce the dynamics of the foot/ground interaction during human
running in a way faithful enough to fit the purpose of reliably testing
running shoes, it is necessary to understand the biomechanics of running
from a robotics perspective. For instance, a particularly important
concept for the control of robotic devices that undergo heavy
interactions with the environment is that of mechanical impedance.
Indeed, the separate knowledge of the foot velocity pattern on one hand
and of the contact forces on the other is not sufficient to determine
the mechanical interaction between the foot and the ground: it is
precisely their relationship – as captured by the mechanical impedance –
that matters if one is to build a robotic device that aims at
reproducing this mechanical interaction. Note also that this mechanical
impedance should not be understood only at the foot/ground interaction,
but also throughout the whole “robotic leg”.

The first part of the proposed PhD thesis will consist in the study –
through both experiments and simulations – of the foot/ground
interaction and of the dynamics of the whole leg during contact, in
light of concepts arising from robotics, such as that of mechanical
impedance mentioned above. The second part will consist in the faithful
reproduction of the foot/ground interaction through the design of a
novel robotic device based on the knowledge gained in the first part. We
believe that such a program can bring about a novel understanding of the
biomechanics of running, as well as a new shoes-testing device able to
reproduce the foot/ground interaction at a level of fidelity that no
existing apparatus can reach.

Finally, the results obtained in the first part can also be used in
other sport contexts which involve heavy interactions between human
limbs and the environment, such as arm/racket/ball interaction in tennis
or foot/ball interaction in football.


We are seeking candidates with a Master or Bachelor degree in
Engineering (Mechanical, Aerospace, Electrical, Computer Science,
Biomedical), Physiology, Physics or Mathematics. Familiarity with
concepts from biomechanics, mechanical design, control theory or
robotics would be appreciated, but we are interested above all in
students with sharp critical reasoning and strong background in mathematics.

*About the position*

This PhD will be conducted at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering (http://www.mae.ntu.edu.sg/) and the Institute for Sports
Research (http://www.isr.ntu.edu.sg/), NTU, Singapore, under the
supervision of Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong
(http://www.ntu.edu.sg/home/cuong/) and the co-supervision of Assistant
Professor Lorenzo Masia (http://www.lorenzomasia.info/). It will be
funded by an NTU Research Scholarships
and should start by August 2014.

Interested candidates are invited to send a CV and two of their most
significant publications (if applicable) to cuong at ntu.edu.sg preferably
before March 31st 2014.

More information about the robotics-worldwide mailing list