Fully-funded PhD position in Air-Releasable Robots


The use of soft materials (elastomeric polymers, textiles, thermoplastics, etc.) in robotics has emerged as a novel approach to increase the adaptability of robots and their safe interactions with living species including humans. Research in soft robotics has pushed the state-of-the-art of robotics including towards new medical applications in rehabilitation, exoskeletons for gait assistance, and in vivo devices to attack cancerous cells.

In a new approach, you will look at other advantageous attributes of soft materials (including resilience, low-cost, light-weight, and mass-manufacturability) for the development of air-releasable and airborne (soft) robots from unmanned aerial vehicles. Applications include the deployment of 100s to 1000s of robots for monitoring crop fields, preventing people from drowning after large-scale hydrological disasters, and delivering medicine in remote areas.

You will e.g., work on designing, fabricating, and controlling air-releasable soft robots from scratch; create models of their behaviors during free-fall or flight and impact; analyze power dissipation in the system; develop deployment schemes in collaboration with government agencies; and potentially consider your inventions for commercialization, taking advantage of WPI’s strong technological and entrepreneurial expertise. The ultimate aim of this research is to develop an entire infrastructure that allows for the automated deployment of abandonable robots in the field.


The position is open to candidates from engineering, physics, or machine learning backgrounds, or a related field. The Nemitz Robotics Group is looking for a highly motivated candidate with a go-getter mentality. Preferably, the candidate has a strong theoretical background, in combination with an immense affinity for experimental work. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential.


Depending on the candidate, this position will be offered as a teaching assistant (TA) or a research assistant (RA) position.


Please send an email with your resume and motivation on why you want to join the group to mnemitz@wpi.edu.

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