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Postdoc-position user centered technology - the case of a motivating e-Walker

University of Twente. Enschede (Niederlande), 01.12.2016

Postdoc - position user centered technology - the case of a motivating e-Walker


Function types
Scientific fields
Job number
About employer
Postdoc positions
Engineering, Health
40.0 hours per week
€ 3068 - € 4028
University of Twente (UT)

Job description

The Institute for Science Based Engineering at the University of Twente develops and applies science and technology in multidisciplinary systems to the needs of industry and society, in order to enable a sustainable future. SBE has a strong position in manufacturing, design, engineering materials and energy, grouped in three centers of expertise: "Design Engineering", "Thermal Fluid and Process Technology", and "Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces and Systems". The driving force behind this program are its more than 300 linked researchers.

The institute for Science Based Engineering is looking for a postdoctoral researcher for the project ’User Centered Technology - the case of a motivating e-walker’. The project is defined in a multi-disciplinary setting with the aim to explore a potential new research area. The goal of the project is to study how methods from engineering and design can be integrated and applied to a case study that is aimed at developing an e-walker for elderly people that allows training (muscle strength) and that supports them to perform daily activities. The e-walker will be connected to an e-health platform that increases motivation to use the technology.

To be successful in this project, we need to consider how to improve the mechanical aspects of the e-walker in a way that it can support walking on uneven territory and how it can assist people in standing up from a chair and support exercises. Moreover, knowledge on what is the best motivational strategy to use for the foreseen target group is needed.

The development of technological and especially mechanical products often follows a functionally oriented and technically efficient process. The methods used within such a process differ from a process that is more focused on creative thinking and that is more user-centered. Now that complex (assistive) technology is increasingly entering the lives (and even bodies) of people, there is a growing need to integrate the different ways of thinking because it requires a combination of technically efficient and experiential design. Knowledge on how to integrate methods from both ways of thinking is essential to create innovative and complex technology that people will not only be able to use, but that they will also welcome in their homes. There is a scientific challenge in integrating different ways of thinking (the engineering perspective and the design perspective). The postdoc in this position will investigate this challenge within the case of developing assistive technology (a motivating e-walker) that elderly people can and will use in their homes.

Elderly people form an at risk group; when physical deficiencies increasingly make it more difficult to move, people stop moving, which increases both their risk on lifestyle related diseases, and their risk to stop participating in society. A healthier lifestyle can prevent such physical deficiencies or slow down deterioration. Recent developments in the development of exoskeletons and assistive technology could provide opportunities for elderly people to continue being active. Older people might benefit from these technologies because they could, for example, enable them to increase their muscle strength. Thereby, assistive technology could partly prevent decrease of muscle strength and balance as a result of their age. However, for this specific group introducing advanced technology can only be successful if the technology is not experienced as threatening. Indeed, people should feel confident to welcome the technology into their homes and lives.

An additional question is how to further increase the effectiveness of this technology by motivating the target group to use it. Connecting the assistive technology to some form of monitoring and coaching system, for example by offering an e-health platform, could provide this motivation.

Tasks of the postdoc will include an analysis of methods from multiple disciplines involved that will lead to a vision on how to successfully integrate these methods in a multidisciplinary design process. The postdoc will also initiate and perform experimental work on the dynamic behavior of the e-walker as well as on the experience of this dynamic behavior. Results will include at least one scientific publication and a project proposal that specifies further work on this topic.


The successful applicant is a highly motivated researcher with intellectual curiosity, who possesses the communication and management skills to thrive within a multidisciplinary research team. We expect a candidate to have obtained a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Design Engineering or in a closely related discipline. He or she has an interest in research and design methodology, an open mind and good communicative skills (both in writing and in verbal communication). Experience at the intersection of one or more of the relevant areas is desirable.

It is expected that the research will result in at least one scientific publication and in a project proposal with additional (industrial) partners.

Information and Application
For further information you can contact Dr. Geke Ludden

You can submit your application including a recent CV and motivation letter, before December 13, 2016 using the link below.

Conditions of employment

We offer a very challenging position in an inspiring multidisciplinary environment. As a postdoctoral researcher you will be appointed in a full-time position for a period of one year.

Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO-NU) for Dutch Universities. Gross monthly salary depends on experience and qualifications, and ranges from € 3068.- to € 4028.-. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%), an end of year bonus (amounts to 8.3%) and a number of additional benefits.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.

The Faculty of Engineering Technology (CTW) is one of the six faculties of the University of Twente. CTW combines Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and Industrial Design Engineering. Our faculty has approximately 1800 bachelor and master students, 400 employees and 150 PhD candidates. The departments of the faculty cooperatively conduct the educational programmes and participate in interdisciplinary research projects, programmes and the research institutes: MIRA, CTIT, SBE and IGS.

Bewerbungsschluss: 13.12.2016