Bsc/Msc/PhD

PhD Positions

Every year, the Dynamic Legged Systems Lab (HyQ Project) has open PhD positions in the PhD Program Bioengineering and Robotics (curriculum: Advanced and Humanoid Robotics) of the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), an English language Institute. All the positions are fully funded.
An overview of all the PhD positions offered by IIT in collaboration with the University of Genova and an explaination of the application procedure can be found at the PhD school website: https://www.iit.it/phd-school/phd-school-genoa. The list of open positions offered in the curriculum of Advanced and Humanoid Robotics (among which the DLS lab. positions can be found) is located at this webpage: https://multimedia.iit.it/asset-bank/assetfile/11616.pdf.
 
At the moment we have in our group two open PhD positions:

Hydraulic Quadruped Robots with arms: Multi-contact Optimization for Cluttered Environments

Tutors: Michele Focchi, Claudio Semini
Research Line: Dynamic Legged Systems lab, Dept. of Advanced Robotics (IIT)
 
Description: IIT’s Dynamic Legged Systems (DLS) lab. developed the Hydraulic Quadruped robot HyQ to traverse complex and unstructured terrains for search and rescue missions in natural disaster scenarios. Traditionally, quadrupeds have been limited to load-carrying or sensing tasks, as they have no manipulation ability. To overcome this limitation, we have been working on a combination of quadruped locomotion stability with the ability to perform manipulation tasks, i.e. HyQ-Centaur [1].
However, introducing additional limbs that can be in contact with the environment (e.g. an arm to open doors) can pose some challenges because the force that is realizable from the arm is limited by the stability requirements of the mobile platform. The robot configuration and posture can be optimized to better realize a certain force at the environment (e.g. to operate a power tool to force open a door in a rescue mission, as in our INAIL-funded Teleoperation project). Additionally, when locomoting through cluttered environments, exploiting contacts in points different from the feet [2] can be the only option to succeed with the task.
This position will focus on optimization of postures for manipulation, force realization and selection of contacts (multi-contact optimization [3,4]) to enhance locomotion and make a quadruped with arm (INAIL teleoperation project) able to traverse cluttered environments.
 
Requirements: Background in robotics, computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Mandatory: Basic knowledge on control and signal processing. Understanding of robot kinematics and dynamics, strong C++ skills. Creativity, problem-solving skills. Passionate for robotics and legged locomotion. Experience in Matlab. Desired but not mandatory: basic knowledge on optimization, 3D mapping, experience in ROS and Python.
 
References:
[1] B. U. Rehman, M. Focchi, J. Lee, H. Dallali, D. G. Caldwell, C. Semini. Towards a Multi-legged Mobile Manipulator. IEEE ICRA, 2016.
[2] B. Henze, A. Dietrich, M. A. Roa and C. Ott. Multi-contact balancing of humanoid robots in confined spaces: Utilizing knee contacts. IEEE IROS, 2017.
[3] J. Carpentier and N. Mansard. Multi-contact Locomotion for Legged Robots. submitted to IEEE Transaction on Robotics, 2017.
[4] J. Carpentier, S. Tonneau, M. Naveau, O. Stasse, N. Mansard. A Versatile and Efficient Pattern Generator for Generalized Legged Locomotion.IEEE ICRA, 2016.

Hydraulic Quadruped Robots: Recovery Strategies for Dynamic Locomotion on Irregular Surfaces

Tutors: Michele Focchi, Victor Barasuol, Claudio Semini
Research Line: Dynamic Legged Systems lab, Dept. of Advanced Robotics (IIT)
 
Description: The Hydraulic Quadruped robot - HyQ -is a fully torque-controlled hydraulically actuated quadruped robot, capable of locomotion over rough terrain and performing highly dynamic tasks such as jumping and running with a variety of gaits, e.g. [1,2]. It is a unique research platform, designed for unstructured environments, e.g. outdoors and disaster sites. These environments present several challenges to locomotion. Using a vision feedback, it is possible to plan appropriate motions that are taking into consideration the features of the terrain. Long term planning methods could deal with these terrains, but they reach their limits because they are inherently unable to cope with accumulation of errors. The errors can be due to tracking/filtering delays, inaccuracy of the 3D map, modeling errors, sensor calibration errors, unforeseen events (external pushes, slipping, rock falling) or simply by the fact that terrain can be changing (e.g. rolling stones). These errors would make the robot state drift away from the original plan. Recovery strategies (based on a map of the environment) can help to mitigate these errors [3].
This position will focus on designing successful recovery strategies for stabilization to deal with a variety of terrain (e.g. climbing stairs, pile of rubble) in face of unpredicted situations (e.g. external pushes, stepping on rolling rocks or slippery surfaces).
 
Requirements: Background in robotics, computer science, electrical engineering or mechanical engineering. Mandatory: Basic knowledge on control and signal processing. Understanding of robot kinematics and dynamics, strong C++ skills. Creativity, problem-solving skills. Passionate for robotics and legged locomotion. Experience in Matlab. Desired but not mandatory: basic knowledge on neural networks and machine learning, 3D mapping, ROS and Python.
 
References:
[1] V. Barasuol, J. Buchli, C. Semini, M. Frigerio, E. R. De Pieri, D. G. Caldwell, A Reactive Controller Framework for Quadrupedal Locomotion on Challenging Terrain. IEEE ICRA, 2013.
[2] M. Focchi, A. del Prete, I. Havoutis, R. Featherstone, D. G. Caldwell, C. Semini, High-slope terrain locomotion for torque-controlled quadruped robots. Autonomous Robots, 2017.
[3] V. Barasuol, M. Camurri, S. Bazeille, D. Caldwell, C. Semini, Reactive Trotting with Foot Placement Corrections through Visual Pattern Classification. IEEE/RSJ IROS, 2015.

Guidelines for the PhD application

In addition to the official online application, interested candidates should send their CV, a letter of motivation and the university transcripts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., including the tag [PHD2018] in the email's subject line.

**Attention**: For a valid application, it is required that you fill the "Università Degli Studi Di Genova online application". All PhD courses at IIT are organized in collaboration with the University of Genoa. Information on the official PhD call and the full details and information on the application procedure are published here:

http://phd.dibris.unige.it/biorob/index.php/how-to-apply, while the online application link is: https://www.studenti.unige.it/postlaurea/dottorati/XXXIV/.

PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE FOR ONLINE APPLICATION - June 12nd, 2018 NOON, Italy time (CEST)

Please note that the online application procedure requires preparing and uploading a set of documents before the deadline. You first need to register online and then proceed to the online application.
It's strongly recommended to start the application process well before the deadline!


Bachelor and Master Students

The Dynamic Legged Systems lab. is constantly looking for Bachelor and Master students who wish to perform an intership or their Bsc/Msc thesis in our labs. For spontaneous applications and to find out more about our currently available projects please send your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
Available position

We are currently looking for a highly motivated, full-time fellow to work in the evaluation of smart hydraulic actuators, with the possibility of performing a master thesis project.

At the moment of application, the candidate should be about to receive a master's degree in systems and control, robotics, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering, or have already received a master's degree not more than 6 months ago.

The succesful candidate will be involved in the modeling, simulation, controller design and experimental evaluation of the novel smart hydraulic actuators to be used in the DLS Lab robotic platforms. Furthermore, the candidate will undertake the task of designing, implementing and evaluating the performance of novel control strategies for hydraulic systems.

Requirements:

  • Strong background in modeling and control theory, frequency and time domain analysis, signal analysis;
  • Strong programming skills in Matlab/Simulink (for both design and analysis);
  • Strong communication skills (written and spoken) in English language;
  • Strong team player;
  • Willingness to integrate into a multidisciplinary, dynamic, international research group

Further desirable skills:

  • Experience with hydraulic systems;
  • Knowledge of feedback linearization and nonlinear control strategies in general;
  • Experience in legged robotic systems;
  • Good C++/Python programming skills;

To apply please send electronically your detailed CV, university transcripts and cover letter outlining motivation, experience and qualifications for the position to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    stating “Smart Actuator Position” in the subject of the e-mail.