[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD Scholarship at Bristol Robotics Laboratory: One Shot Printed Multi-Digit Manipulator

Tony Pipe Tony.Pipe at brl.ac.uk
Mon Mar 19 02:20:03 PDT 2018

HP Inc. UK LTD funded PhD Scholarship at Bristol Robotics Laboratory: 
One Shot Printed Multi-Digit Manipulator

The innovative high technology provider HP Inc (HP) and the world 
renowned Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) have decided to work together 
to carry out an exciting new research project on creating and developing 
the technology and techniques that would enable the 3D printing of a 
multi-digit robot manipulator, in one pass.

Such a process has yet to be developed, but would include construction 
of the manipulator’s digits, the joints between those digits, together 
with all the embedded sensing and actuation components. The likely form 
would be an opposed 3+fingered gripper that will be capable of picking 
up a modest range of items.

The research work itself will have a strong emphasis on ‘learning from 
experiment’, i.e., there will be an iterative process of developing 
prototypes of gradually greater capability, in order to validate the 
instantiation of approaches that are identified through the conducted 
research. These prototypes could be partially assembled from 
sub-components where the technology is not available but is a realistic 
step away.

Experienced BRL research academics will work together with HP’s senior 
design engineers to provide guidance throughout the research programme. 
BRL’s established expertise in state-of-the-art 3D plastic-part printing 
will be augmented by HP’s specialised skills in the range of properties 
available, or being investigated, with its advanced Multi Jet Fusion 
(MJF - powder bed) 3D printing process, as well as its deep knowledge of 
that which is available in the wider industry.

Of course, this is advanced research, so it cannot be predicted exactly 
how fast the pace of progress will be. However, if things go well, then 
the scope could be extended to include the use of manipulator 
customisation to address established challenges in 3D printing workflow. 
For example, HP’s MJF process produces ‘cakes’ containing the parts. 
These are then separated from each other in a dedicated station with the 
resulting parts that were in the cake all mixed together.  The potential 
for widely varying shapes, masses and material properties represent a 
critical challenge for their subsequent handling by automated systems. 
If the printing of customised manipulators for specific parts could be 
rendered to be cheap and rapid, then this could form a crucial part of a 
solution to the handling and sorting of the disparate parts.

The PhD will take place in BRL and will benefit from links with the 
existing CDT programme within the BRL.

For the full advert please refer to the following link:



Tony Pipe
Professor of Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Deputy Director: Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Bristol Robotics Laboratory
Frenchay Campus
Bristol UK BS16 1QY
Tel: +44 (0)117 3286330

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