Scientific Internship: Design and fabrication of a soft robotic fabric

Date posted May 17, 2018
Type Scientific Internships

The Soft Robotic Matter group at AMOLF is looking for interns at the Master level that will work on the development of a soft robotic fabric that can tune its stiffness by e.g. pneumatic inflation. The project is a collaboration between AMOLF, CWI and fashion designer ByBorre, where the final goal is to develop an urban jacket that pushes the state-of-the-art of smart textiles. Clothes, historically, are used as protection from external conditions and are a symbol of fashion or status. Lately, small electronics and mobile communications brought the advent of wearables that assist people in different aspects of their lives. These wearables are mostly attached sensors that monitor the user activities while connected to a smartphone. In this project we seek to investigate two questions: 1) whether technology can play a more active role in controlling our environment (moving from sensing to action) and 2) can we design, build, and understand a technology that goes beyond an attached sensor and becomes integral and part of the textile/fabric itself? In this project, the aim of the Soft Robotic Matter grep is to exploit new materials, i.e. soft robotic matter, as a way of changing the physical properties of textiles. This is combined with the proven expertise in merging sensor technology and artificial intelligence, developed by CWI, with the innovative textile design and fabrication techniques that Byborre uses. Our goal is to create and test, both quantitatively and qualitatively, with users a fashion object, the jacket, that combines these technologies together. The jacket will assist people while commuting with their bikes by sensing their activity, their profile, and the external conditions to trigger physical changes in its structure and insulation. We believe this is an essential step towards future smart textile platforms.

About the group

The Soft Robotic Matter group is part of the Designer Matter initiative, a recently started research line at AMOLF. The group focuses on the design, fabrication and fundamental understanding of materials that are capable of autonomously adapting to – and even harnessing – variations in their environment. We aim to uncover principles that help us understand how non-linearity and feedback can result in the emergence of complex – but useful – behavior in soft actuated systems. To this end, the Soft Robotic Matter group explores active and sensing elements to implement feedback capabilities and computation in soft architected materials, and uses a combination of computational, experimental and analytical tools. This line of research uniquely combines concepts from soft robotics and architected materials, providing new and exciting opportunities in the design of compliant structures and devices with highly non-linear behavior. See also:


The internship is open to candidates from a range of backgrounds, including Industrial design, Engineering, Physics or a related field. It must be a mandatory part of your curriculum. You have a nationality of an EU-member state and/or you are a student at a Dutch University. You must be available for at least 3, but preferably 6, months.The Soft Robotic Matter group is looking for a highly motivated candidate with a go-getter mentality. Preferably, the candidate has a strong design background, in combination with a sound appetite for experimental work. Experience in additive manufacturing or similar fabrication techniques is an advantage. Excellent verbal and written communication skills (in English) are essential.

Terms of employment

At the start of the traineeship your trainee plan will be set out, in consultation with your AMOLF supervisor.

Contact info

Dr. ir. Bas Overvelde
Group leader Soft Robotic Matter
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  List of followed courses plus grades.
–  Motivation letter of max 1 page ;
Applications without this motivation will not be taken into account. However, with this motivation your application will receive our full attention.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

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