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Research technician for the development of a measurement setup for tooth removal, Netherlands (4-8 months)

Summary
We are currently developing a measurement setup for tooth removal and have an open, paid position for a research technician who will mainly work on programming the robot and integrating the data collection (robot + force torque sensor + camera + GUI). Potentially on writing software for analyzing the data. More details on the project and the job below.

Project Introduction
For an intro video on the project see https://youtu.be/oyKomkuteLA

Though tooth removal is the most commonly performed surgical treatment worldwide, there has not been any real technological advancement in over 2000 years. Up until now there is no scientific understanding of tooth removal procedures in terms of what motions and forces should be applied and this has its consequence on the quality of education. Students are highly undertrained when it comes tooth removal. The only way to prepare for a procedure is to read very limited instructions on ‘rocking and twisting’ motions and, in contrast to all other fields of dentistry, there is no way to practice these treatments pre-clinically. Practicing tooth removal therefore takes place on actual patients.

The goal of this project is to utilize modern robot technology to gain understanding of tooth extraction procedures and to use the acquired data to improve dental education. Bridging the scientific gap that exists in this field will have direct and significant clinical consequences and will lead to more confident dental students and dentists when practicing/performing these procedures, more efficient referral behavior and last but not least reduce discomfort and complication rates for the patient.

The solution lies in a fundamental analysis of these procedures, finding a way to understand them and to make use of this understanding for education purposes. We will (further) develop our existing measurement setup consisting of a robot arm, force/torque sensor, camera and a GUI. It has been previously used in a pilot study with plastic jaws and needs adjustments to enable its usage in a measurement campaign on human cadaver/fresh frozen jaws, the heart of this project. Different movement cycles will be uncovered by means of segmentation (i.e. twisting for central incisors or complex ‘figure of eight’ movements for molars).

Job
We are looking for someone to help us to further develop the setup: the software development to integrate the robot, data collection, camera and a GUI. Tasks include:

  • The robot, a KUKA LBR iiwa, needs to be in gravity compensation mode to allow the dentists unrestrained movement
  • Integration of the camera and the force-torque sensor
  • Synchronized collection of the various sensor measurements (robot + force torque sensor + camera)
  • The data collection will consist of multiple steps: 1) registration of the specimen, 2) actual procedure 3) collection of meta-data. Software and a GUI that support these steps will need to be developed
  • Storage of the sensor data and associated meta-data

Our current prototype uses the manufacturer’s programming framework (Java) and Matlab. We are going to switch to ROS (C++ or Python).

Depending on what tasks the candidate can take over, the further development of the setup is planned for at least 4 months, remunerated according to the current CAO (Dutch collective labor agreement for universites). A longer period (including support of the measurement campaign and data analysis) is also possible. The project is a collaboration between the TU Delft and the AMC Amsterdam, the work will mainly take place in Delft. Starting date: as soon as possible.

We offer:

  • flexibility in both working hours, duration and degree of involvement
  • an ambitious team of researchers both on the medical and robotic side of the project
  • remuneration according to the current CAO
  • expert supervision robot programming and modern robot learning techniques
  • co-authorship if applicable

Note
Due to the very tight timeline of the project we are looking for candidates that already have a work permit for the Netherlands (e.g. citizens of the EU)

If the whole project or parts of it interests you, please contact Dr.-Ing. Jens Kober j.kober@tudelft.nl for further information.

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