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PhD position on multi-sensory cues for spatial awareness in VR/XR

The goal of this PhD research is to model and improve user estimates of perceived position, travelled distance, size of (closed) spaces, spatial layout of spaces, etc. when using VR/XR. Humans make these estimates based on (the integration and weighing of) visual, auditory vestibular and proprioceptive cues that can be limited or even absent in VR/XR setups.

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Key takeaways

  • Hours
    40 hr.
  • Salary indication
    Salary gross/monthly
    based on full-time
    € 2,770 - € 3,539
  • Deadline
    23 Aug 2024

You will explore the following research questions using advanced VR/XR setups and experiments with human volunteers: 1) How can we model visual, vestibular, proprioceptive, auditory, and olfactory cue integration in the context of spatial awareness? 2) How can we enhance estimations by scaling sensory cues? 3) How can we integrate less common cues such as vibrations under the feet, wind, haptic flow on the body, olfactory cues, thermal landmarks, etc. into the model? 4) How can we improve estimations by adding artificial cues?

You will work with researchers and advanced experimental facilities of the Human Media Interaction (HMI) group of the University of Twente in Enschede and the Human Machine Teaming department of The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in Soesterberg, both in The Netherlands. An example of such an advanced experimental facility is the telepresence system in Soesterberg that was developed for the XPRIZE Avatar competition. Furthermore, the Interaction Lab in Enschede has an impressive range of state-of-the-art equipment, provides a low-entry place where students and researchers collaborate, informing each other also on longer time spans after projects end.

This PhD position is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Defence. Because you will work in the domain of safety and security, a security screening is part of the procedure and a “certificate of no objection, level B” is mandatory.

Your profile

  • You have completed your master education in Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Human Movement Sciences, Interaction Technology, or a related area.
  • You have experience with experimental research with human volunteers.
  • You have worked with statistical tools or tools to model human behavior.
  • You are familiar with adapting or making a digital intervention or tool.
  • You are proficient in English.
  • You are willing to travel to Enschede and Soesterberg.
  • You are enthusiastic to contribute to the education of the research group in Enschede.

Our offer

  • As a PhD candidate at UT, you will be appointed to a full-time position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating and exciting scientific environment.
  • The University offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues.
  • Your salary and associated conditions are in accordance with the collective labour agreement for Dutch universities (CAO-NU).
  • You will receive a gross monthly salary ranging from € 2.770,- (first year) to € 3.539,- (fourth year).
  • There are excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3%, and a solid pension scheme.
  • Minimum of 232 leave hours in case of full-time employment based on a formal workweek of 38 hours. A full-time employment in practice means 40 hours a week, therefore resulting in 96 extra leave hours on an annual basis.
  • Free access to sports facilities on campus.
  • A family-friendly institution that offers parental leave (both paid and unpaid).
  • You will have a training programme as part of the Twente Graduate School where you and your supervisors will determine a plan for a suitable education and supervision.
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, while collaborating with close colleagues, researchers and other staff.

Information and application

Are you interested in this position? Please send your application via the 'Apply now' button below before 23 August 2024 and include:

For more information regarding this position, you are welcome to contact prof. Jan van Erp, jan.vanerp@utwente.nl.

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About the department

HMI is a multidisciplinary group in which computer science meets design and social science to investigate and evaluate novel forms of human-computer interaction. We investigate systems with the human in the loop (sense, think, act). We design and develop content and interactions to understand humans and learn how to build better interactions. The group has a very friendly, collaborative and welcoming atmosphere, centring wellbeing and work-life balance.

TNO connects people and knowledge to create sustainable innovations that increase the competitiveness of Dutch industry and the well-being of the Dutch society. TNO location Soesterberg develops strategic knowledge, technologies, and capabilities to protect what is dear to us and ensure people can live together in freedom and safety.

About the organisation

The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) uses mathematics, electronics and computer technology to contribute to the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With ICT present in almost every device and product we use nowadays, we embrace our role as contributors to a broad range of societal activities and as pioneers of tomorrow's digital society. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

Want to know more?

Erp, J.B.F. van (Jan)

Erp, J.B.F. van (Jan)
Full Professor

Erp, J.B.F. van (Jan)
Full Professor

Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Jan for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.

How to apply

Step 1

When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

Apply now

Step 2

The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

Step 3

1st interview.
The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

Step 4

2nd interview.
In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

Step 5

The offer.
If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer. If applicable, we will sign you up for screening.

Your Colleagues

About the faculty EEMCS

Curious about what the faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) stands for? Check out the EEMCS website for more information.

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