2019-01292 - PhD Position F/M [Campagne AR 2019 - PhD Thesis] - Control of soft manipulator under constraints (M/F)

Contract type : Public service fixed-term contract

Level of qualifications required : Graduate degree or equivalent

Fonction : PhD Position

About the research centre or Inria department

The Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre was founded in 2008 and employs a staff of 360, including 300 scientists working in sixteen research teams. Recognised for its outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development of the Nord - Pas-de-Calais Region, the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre undertakes research in the field of computer science in collaboration with a range of academic, institutional and industrial partners.


Defrost team (https://team.inria.fr/defrost/) focuses on the modeling, simulation and control of soft deformable robots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_robotics). Our vision is that future robots don’t have to be «rigid» but made of complex deformable structures, composed of stiff and soft regions, close to organic materials that we can find in the nature. Soft robotics opens very attractive perspectives in terms of new applications, reduction of manufacturing costs, robustness, efficiency and security. It could result in great advances in robotics in the next years.

* This project is subventionned by Région Hauts de France.


Soft-robotics are compliant to human and they are rightly able to adjust their shapes and flexibilities to suit the task and the environment. Thus, it opens new perspectives in different applications. Due to their compliance, they can access to fragile parts of an environment by applying minimal pressure. However, since soft robot has infinite degree of freedom, the control of such a soft robot is quite challenging. The job of the candidate is to develop algorithm to achieve robust control of soft manipulator under physical or virtual constraints.


Main activities

Depending on the different applications, the task space of soft manipulator normally is reduced, due to the existent of constraint. Those constraints might be physical ones which prevent the movement of soft robots in specific direction, or be just virtual one which has been introduced by the user to realize the special task. Therefore, this proposal focuses on the control of soft manipulator under those constraints. The work plan is listed as follows:

  1. Familiar with FEM;
  2. Deduce the model of soft manipulator and valid it via the simulation (FEM)
  3. Introduce different types of constraints (physical or task)
  4. Investigate different types of estimators/controllers to control the soft manipulator under those constraints
  5. Validations of the proposed algorithms.


The candidate must have a master in Robotics or Automatic Control or a related field. French is not necessary but the fluency in English (writing/speaking) is mandatory. Knowledge of Matlab, C/C++, Python is a plus.


Benefits package

  • Subsidised catering service
  • Partially-reimbursed public transport


Gross monthly salary for the 2 first year is 1982€ and 2085€ the third year.