Research Fellow in Swarm Acoustic Modulators

Computer Science

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UCL, Gower Street, London, UK


  • Posted on: 16th Nov 2021
  • Salary: £36,770 - £44,388 per annum
  • REF: 1880264
  • Closes: 30th November 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time, Part Time

Duties and Responsibilities

The Department of Computer Science are looking to recruit a Research Fellow at Grade 7 in Swarm Acoustic Modulators. Computer Science is a large UCL department within the Faculty of Engineering, with over 400 academic, research, professional services and teaching staff. Conducting substantive research within the EPSRC Prosperity Fund project, proposing modular SSM units, and designing distributed algorithms for SSM control applying concepts from swarm robotics. Developing a body of outstanding quality publications in well-recognised peer reviewed outlets. Presenting research and giving invited papers at national and international conferences.

The purpose of the job is to conduct engineering and computational research, using ideas and techniques that lie at the intersection of human-computer interaction and swarm robotics applied to ultrasound modulation. Ultrasound modulation enables applications in mid-air haptics, directional sound and digital signage. However, the form factors and application scenarios are limited in scalability, due to the use of a centralized solver controlling a high number of individual transducers.

The key idea is to transition towards Swarm Modulators, creating a scalable platform as a distributed architecture of simple transducer array modules, where awareness of context and users actions is shared among modules, but each module decides individually how to cooperate towards delivering visual, tactile or auditive user-experiences.

We are looking for a post-doc with expertise in engineering and swarm robotics techniques, to help us transition from a large monolithic transducer array to simple array modules, creating the communication infrastructure, protocols and algorithms for such modules to collaborate and demonstrating interactive prototypes of Swarm Modulators. Following this, the researcher will help design the hardware (modules and communication infrastructure), as well as adapting current acoustic solvers to a distributed environment, applying concepts from swarm robotics, game theory and/or multi-agent theory.

The research carried out may be both foundational and applicable. It is anticipated that delivering these objectives will require research in electrical engineering, swarm robotics and human computer interaction.

This position will be funded until 31st October 2024 In the first instance.

Key Requirements

Undergraduate Degree, or equivalent experience, in a relevant subject (e.g., Computer Science or related Engineering discipline). A completed PhD, or close to obtaining a PhD, in computer science, or a closely related field by the post start-date.

Expertise and research interests in Swarm Robotics, Electrical Engineering and HCI. Programming for distributed environments (network communication, de-centralised multi-agent algorithms). Prototyping and embedded systems design (Arduino, FPGA, laser cutters, 3D printers). Ability to create demonstrable and interactive computationally controlled prototypes.

Appointment Grade 7 is dependent upon having been awarded a PhD; if this is not the case, initial appointment will be at Research Assistant Grade 6B (salary 32,217 – 33,958 per annum) with payment at Grade 7 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis.

Further Details

A job description and person specification can be accessed at the bottom of this page.

To apply for the vacancy please click on the Apply Now button below.

If you have any queries regarding the vacancy or the application process, please contact Diego Martinez Plasencia or email

UCL Taking Action for Equality

We will consider applications to work on a part-time, flexible and job share basis wherever possible.

Closing Date

30 Nov 2021

Latest time for the submission of applications


Interview date


Our department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award, in recognition of our commitment and demonstrable impact in advancing gender equality.

This appointment is subject to UCL Terms and Conditions of Service for Research and Support Staff.

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