PhD Towards Human Interaction in Soft Robotics

PhD Towards Human Interaction in Soft Robotics

Published Deadline Location
4 Apr 11 Apr Eindhoven

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Are you fascinated by the potential of soft robotics for applications that involve people? And are you interested in developing design tools that empower users to realize the potential of soft robotics?

Job description

Soft robotics holds promise for a broad range of applications that involve interactions with humans including wearables, shape changing interfaces, and haptic experience design. You will work on the challenges associated with designing for human-soft robot interaction. To quantify and realize the potential of soft robotic systems in contexts that involve humans by empowering users (e.g., designers, students, children, patients) that have little expertise in soft robotics. The research will include the development of design tools that improve the understanding of the physics and embodied intelligence that govern the behavior of soft robots and allow users to translate these insights into soft robotics for human control and interaction. The process will involve the development of methods to quantify the performance and qualitative methods to inform the design of interactive qualities and controllability in soft robotic devices. By exploiting the unique advantages of soft robotics for interaction design such as flexibility, adaptability, and compliance, which allow for safer and more comfortable interactions and introduce new opportunities for interaction design.

This position is a collaboration between the Interactive Matters Cluster of the Industrial Design Department at Eindhoven University of Technology, and the Soft Robotic Matter Group at AMOLF (Amsterdam). Depending on the stage of the project, you will spend time at the TU/e and at AMOLF, ensuring embedding in both institutes and interaction with team members that have experience in soft robotics and interaction design.

The Soft Robotic Matter group @AMOLF focuses on embodied intelligence within soft robotic devices, aiming to create autonomous robots capable of effective operation in their environments. To realize this goal, the group's focus lies at the intersection of soft robotics and mechanical metamaterials. The group employs a combination of computational, experimental, and analytical tools to investigate how shape, non-linearities, and feedback can be strategically utilized to embody intelligent behavior in mechanical systems. The objective is to explore innovative - yet simple - avenues that extend the frontiers of knowledge, all while remaining dedicated to addressing real-world challenges that have a meaningful impact on society.

The Interactive Matters Cluster of the Industrial Design Department @TU/e focuses on tangible and Embodied Interaction, as well as Aesthetics of Interaction. This cluster takes embodiment and aesthetics to the next level by incorporating advanced technologies such as advanced materials, sensing, signal processing, and artificial intelligence. The cluster explores the benefits of Embodied Intelligence by creating tangible multimodal experiences to support the interaction of humans and non-humans with their connected smart environments. The candidate will join the Material Aesthetics lab that works at the cross-section of interaction design, biology, robotics, and material science. Researchers at the lab develop and investigate tools and methods through the design and (co-)creation of experience prototypes (


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)


  • A master's degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Mechanical Engineering, or related disciplines.
  • Experience with soft robotics and/or tool development.
  • Experience with participatory methods and community engagement will be an advantage.
  • Experience with project work will be an advantage (e.g., demonstrated through a portfolio).
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work and collaborate with experts at the Industrial Design department at TU/e and the Soft Robotic Matter group at AMOLF. The candidate will be granted access to facilities and equipment available at both institutions.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).
  • Open to engage in working with communities, members of the public, and education.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university and AMOLF an institution that performs leading fundamental research on the physics of complex forms of matter.
  • The opportunity to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy, and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (min. €2,770 max. €3,539).
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called '30% facility', which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • V51.7372


Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

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De Rondom 70, 5612 AP, Eindhoven

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