The science & engineering of
dynamic & dexterous movement
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, UC San Diego
Postdoc researcher to study legged locomotion dynamics at low-mass

** This position has been filled **

  • Position: Postdoc researcher to study legged locomotion dynamics at low-mass
  • Start date: Early summer 2017
  • Position duration: 12 months with possibility of renewal
  • Appointment info:
  • Contact info: Include a CV, a brief introduction, relevant publications, and three references.

    Experiments on low-mass locomotion

The Gravish lab has an opening for a postdoctoral research position to study the dynamics of legged locomotion in milli-scale insects and bio-inspired robots. This work will contribute to an emerging research program towards understanding the scaling laws of dynamic legged locomotion upon decreasing mass in biology and milliscale robotics. This broad research area utilizes the design, fabrication, and study of low-mass legged robots, in parallel with experimental studies of legged locomotion in low-mass biological systems (insects).

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher for a 12-month (with possibility of extension) position to develop and fabricate an experimental force plate using the micro-fabrication tools of our lab. The candidate will integrate this force plate into a multi-camera imaging system to measure ground reaction forces and limb kinematics of low-mass runners (1-100 mg). In our lab we use a custom UV laser machining system to fabricate milliscale laminate devices (bio-inspired robots, sensors, etc.) and thus the candidate will be responsible for the design, prototyping, fabrication, and integration of this sensor into a scientific experiment.

The relevant qualifications for this position are: Strong mechanical design and fabrication skills for experimental scientific apparatus. Background in the dynamics and control of legged locomotion (either from a biomechanics or robotics perspective). Experience with scientific data collection and analysis methods. Background in computer vision as applied to robotics and biomechanics experiments (tracking, OpenCV proficiency, high-speed imaging). Ability to lead a project independently, mentor students, and present results at conferences and in publications. Proficiency in Python, Matlab, C/C++. Experience with insect locomotion, or milli-scale legged robotics a plus.

*Note: the initial period of this research project will focus on development of a sensor for biomechanics research and carrying out biomechanics experiments. Follow up work will involve the development of legged robotics “templates” for continued experiments. The candidate is not required to have experience working with biological systems. A strong candidate will have a background in the dynamics of movement science and legged locomotion from either biomechanical or robotics perspectives.*

The start date is early summer 2017 with the position lasting for 1-year and the possibility of renewal. UCSD has a collective bargaining contract for postdocs which can be seen here. Compensation will be commensurate with experience. Interested applicants should contact PI Nick Gravish at with the words “Postdoctoral opportunity” in the message subject.

Please send a CV, a brief introduction to yourself, any relevant publications, and three references.