Master Thesis Project: Adaptation in Miniature Scale

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart

Solid State Research & Material Sciences Structural and Cell Biology


Type of Job

Young Researchers

Master Thesis Project: Adaptation in Miniature Scale

Job offer from December 21, 2017

The Physical Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems offers a Master Thesis Project (Adaptation in Miniature Scale: Learning to walk in self-assembled magnetic miniature robots).

Physical and computational adaptability is a sought after skill in autonomous robots. Especially in miniature robots, adaptation emerges from learning how to use the limited number of body components and their various configurations to generate the necessary functions.

Our research is based on the combination of physical experimentation, rigorous theory and mathematical analysis. In this project, we want to design miniature magnetic robot components which can self-assemble in different configurations. For every configuration, we want the robots to identify their morphology and learn how to walk on a surface (see photos below for some examples). This project involves the exploration of component design space, modeling and analysis of physical interactions, applying parametric machine learning methods and experimental validation with fabricated robot components.

Physical Intelligence Department

The Physical Intelligence Department is headed by Metin Sitti and part of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) located in Stuttgart, Germany. The MPI-IS has many collaborations with national and international universities and academic partners. This project is a collaboration with the Intelligent Control Systems Group (Dr. Trimpe) at MPI-IS Tuebingen/Stuttgart. We are continuously looking for outstanding students from any institution who are eager to do their Master thesis on a challenging research project in a highly dynamic research environment. Accommodation at the institute’s guest house may be available for the duration of the project, and travel to international conferences can be supported if the project leads to such publications.


High motivation and excellent theoretical and/or technical skills. Programming experience (MATLAB, C/C++). Background in control, machine learning, image processing or robotics is a plus.


Do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in doing your Master thesis at the Physical Intelligence Department. When applying for the project, please include your CV, current grade transcript, a short motivation statement (why are you interested in the project?), and optionally other documentation helpful to evaluate your background.

Dr. Utku Culha, Physical Intelligence Department, .

Dr. Sebastian Trimpe, Intelligent Control Systems Group, .

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