I am looking for a motivated student to embark on a PhD on the topic of disordered assemblies in relation with soft robotics
Towards a control of an assembly's collective response:
How to convert a disordered assembly into a soft robot?
Note that the offer is not funded yet, which means that the candidate will have to apply to the selective Doctoral School of Lyon to obtain a PhD scholarship for three years.
Compared to their 'hard' counterparts, soft robots  display several interesting features, including the ability to squeeze into narrow interstices and to grasp soft objects. However, they are notoriously difficult to design; conventional design strategies target only a limited number of shapes.
The PhD will be dedicated to exploring an entirely original alternative to the design and control of soft robots, whereby one starts with a disordered assembly of constituents and actuates some of these constituents in order to attain a desired shape. In other words, the actuation of some constituents will modify their shape and, since the assembly is dense, this will trigger an elasto-plastic response of the whole system ; the goal is to be able to control this global response by proper actuations.
The first step along this path will consist in simulating a two-dimensional assembly of particles with discrete-element simulations and will introduce meta-dynamics to guide the system towards a prescribed shape.
The ideal candidate has proven skills in numerical programming and an interest in simulations for materials' science; (s)he will be based at iLM, in Villeurbanne (near Lyon).
You can drop me an email for informal enquiries
 KIM, Sangbae, LASCHI, Cecilia, et TRIMMER, Barry. Soft robotics: a bioinspired evolution in robotics. Trends in biotechnology, 2013, vol. 31, no 5, p. 287-294.
 NICOLAS, Alexandre, FERRERO, Ezequiel E., MARTENS, Kirsten, et al. Deformation and flow of amorphous solids: Insights from elastoplastic models. Reviews of Modern Physics, 2018, vol. 90, no 4, p. 045006.