In robotic therapy, movements are visualized in Virtual Environments (VEs) that offer the possibility to simulate different real or imaginary activities of daily living that can be adapted to the patients’ needs, while providing a motivating environment. During conventional robotic neurorehabilitation, the VE is displayed on a flat-screen, and patients interact via a symbolic virtual representation of their limb (e.g., a cursor). However, over half of stroke survivors suffer from cognitive impairments that might limit their ability to play current symbolic and abstract games on flat screens developed for robotic rehabilitation practice.
Low-cost Head-Mounted Displays (HMD) are now widely available, offering the possibility to provide a realistic virtual representation of the patient’s own limbs (avatar) at a first-person perspective that, in immersive VR, offers a much higher probability of embodiment than computer screens. During this PhD, you will develop and exploit more naturalistic and cognitively engaging VEs. You will explore the potential of immersive VR using head-mounted displays to enhance neuroplasticity by modulating participants’ body ownership over virtual avatars. You will further evaluate whether participants’ cognitive load can be modulated by varying the complexity of the immersive VE.
In this project, you will collaborate closely with our clinical partners at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam in the design concept and will evaluate the new technology in patients with brain injuries.
In the Human-Robot Interaction group, we work on neurorehabilitation robotics, cognitive human-robot interaction, and physical Human-Robot Interaction. Strong collaborations exist with cross-faculty institutes (TU Delft Robotics Institute and TU Delft Transport Institute), our national robotic ecosystem (RoboValley, Holland Robotics), Clinical partners (Erasmus MC), and international industry and academia.
Need to have:
- An MSc degree in computer science, game design, human factors, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, or related areas.
- Open-mindedness and motivation to embark on interdisciplinary research.
- Affinity with teaching and supervising students.
- Solid programming skills.
- Ability to take initiative.
- Proficient in verbal and written English.
Candidates with a strong track record in gamification, serious games, computer graphics, and/or AR/VR, are especially encouraged to apply. In addition, experience with one or more of the following topics is considered a plus: AI, cognitive human-robot interaction, and motor learning.
Conditions of employment
TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2434 per month in the first year to € 3111 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.
The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.
TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)
Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.
Challenge. Change. Impact!
Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering
The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.
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For more information about this vacancy, please contact Laura Marchal-Crespo, Associate Professor, email: L.MarchalCrespo@tudelft.nl.
For information about the selection procedure, please contact Hilma Bleeker, HR advisor, email: application-3mE@tudelft.nl.
Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before October 10th, 2021 via the application button and upload:
- a letter of motivation explaining why you are the right candidate for this project, and a brief description of how you plan to contribute to this project (no more than 2 pages).
- A detailed CV, including a list of academic publications (if any), and a list of projects you have worked on with brief descriptions of your contributions.
- A complete record of Bachelor and Master courses (including grades).
- Your Master Thesis (at least as draft).
- The names and contact addresses of two or three references.
The intended starting date is November 1st 2021.
A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.