PhD candidate: Studying the flight control system of insects, as bio-inspiration for micro air vehicle development
Location: Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Scientific field: Natural Sciences/Physics/Engineering
Apply at: http://tinyurl.com/m9lujuc
Figure 1: Photomontage from a high-speed video of a precisely-controlled evasive manoeuvre of a flying fruit fly.
We are looking for
We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate to study the control dynamics of flying insects, with the aim to develop novel bio-inspired control algorithms of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs).
Palm sized Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) promise to become agile sensing and observation platforms with applications ranging from industrial inspection and security to agriculture and entertainment. But before this becomes a reality the flight manoeuvrability and control of MAVs needs to be improved. Flying insects greatly outperform current MAVs in manoeuvrability, because insects have a dedicated array of sensory systems and fast and effective flapping wing-based control actuation (Figure 1).
The PhD candidate will study the manoeuvre dynamics of flying insects in response to various external perturbations such as air gusts. Based on the acquired knowledge, the candidate will reverse-engineer the insect’s sensory-motor control system, and develop bio-inspired flight control algorithms for MAVs. Our partners at the MavLab at TU Delft will work in parallel by implementing these bio-inspired flight control algorithms in their flapping MAV, the DelFly.
For this project, a range of experimental and modelling tools are available at Wageningen University, such as a dedicated insect flight wind tunnel, a state-of-the-art high-speed camera system, an automatic machinevisionbased insect flight tracking system and sophisticated fluid dynamics modelling tools. The candidate is expected to perform part of the research at TU Delft and abroad in collaboration with our international partners.
For this interdisciplinary project, we are looking for a highly motivated and skilled PhD candidate with a recent university MSc degree (or equivalent) in engineering or (bio)physics. Specific requirements are:
• Strong analytical skills and innovative attitude
• A clear affinity with the field of control theory, (bio)mechanics, and/or fluid dynamics.
• Very good programming skills (e.g. Matlab/Python)
• The candidate should be a team player with excellent communication skills
• Good proficiency in English (both oral and written)
We offer a full-time appointment (1.0 fte, 38 hours/week) for a period of 18 months with extension of 30 months. Salary ranges from € 2191,- (gross) in the first year to € 2801,- (gross) in the fourth year based on full-time employment.
For more information, please contact:
Dr ir Florian T Muijres ([hidden email]; +31 317 486977)
Prof dr ir Johan L van Leeuwen ([hidden email]; +31 317 482267)
How to apply
Applications have to be submitted via the Wageningen UR online application system. Candidates are requested to upload the following information to the website:
• Letter of motivation
• CV, including GPA (Grade Point Average) or equivalent in your Bachelor and Master education
• Names and contact information for two references
You can apply until May 1st, 2017.
Job interviews will be held in May-June 2017.
Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen UR has as mission 'To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life', and it is worldwide renowned for its research and education in the field of life sciences. Through these activities it aims to make essential contributions to the quality of life. This approach has led to Wageningen University being ranked as the best agricultural university in the world according to the National Taiwan University Ranking 2014.
You will participate in a multidisciplinary international consortium that aims at studying the flight dynamics of insects, as bio-inspiration for the development of new biomimetic MAVs. The consortium consists of the chair group the Experimental Zoology Group at Wageningen UR, the Aerodynamics Department and MavLab at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft, and the international partners Dickinson Lab at the California Institute of Technology (USA) and Daniel Lab at the University of Washington (USA).
The Experimental Zoology Group
The mission of the Experimental Zoology Group is to unravel the relationships between form and function in zoological systems in a developmental and evolutionary context. The group is world leading in studying the biomechanics and (bio)fluid dynamics of both fish swimming and animal flight. The project PI and direct supervisor dr ir Florian Muijres is an aerospace engineer with a PhD in biology and an expert on the aerodynamics of animal flight.
Dr. Ir. Florian Muijres
Experimental Zoology Group,
Wageningen University and Research Centre
De Elst 1
6708 WD Wageningen
Mobile: +31 653 566290
Phone: +31 317 486977
Fax: + 31 317 483955
Secretary: +31 317 483509
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