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Dr Helge Wurdemann
Room 502, Roberts Building
Torrington Place
United Kingdom
  • Lecturer in Medical Devices
  • Dept of Mechanical Engineering
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL Principal Supervisor,UCL Subsidiary Supervisor

In 2008, I was awarded Dipl-Ing in Electrical Engineering from the Leibniz University of Hanover. During my two student research projects, which received First Class marks, I published two peer-reviewed conference contributions and spent two semesters abroad, at Auckland University of Technology and at Loughborough University. Following my PhD award in Robotics from King’s College London, I was invited to take a part-time EU project manager/part-time post-doctoral research associate position on EU project STIFF-FLOP.

Between 2012 and 2015, I effectively coordinated research activities of this multidisciplinary consortium of 12 partners with a total budget of €7.35m. I mastered the complex professional relationship between scientists and clinicians - skills that are key to successful technology transfer and the development of useable and scalable solutions with clinical relevance, but have also proven to be an asset in my subsequent academic role. I grew my independent research thinking strongly contributing solutions for designing, modelling and controlling soft, stiffness-controllable manipulators. Implementing my design for the final miniaturised robot was crucial to successfully test the world’s first soft robotic manipulator for minimally invasive surgery inside human cadavers. As the head of the soft robotics and haptics research activities, I made every effort to grow the team and strengthen the international reputation of King’s Centre for Robotics Research (King’s CoRe). 
In 2016, I started my academic tenure-track position at UCL. At the Department of Mechanical Engineering, I thrive as the Robotics lead building my Soft Haptics & Robotics Lab (http://softhaptics.website). I am one of the core roboticists at UCL developing innovative robotic hardware demonstrated by my contributions to world leading premium robotic conferences and journals.

Research Summary

My research interest focuses on the hardware design and application of soft material robotic systems that have the ability to change their shape and stiffness on demand bridging the gap between traditional rigid and entirely soft robots. I create and embed innovative stiffness-controllable mechanisms as well as combine advanced Artificial Intelligence with control strategies in robotic prototypes emerging from my lab. This field of robotics is a truly multidisciplinary engineering subject as it requires knowledge in, e.g., material science, design and manufacturing, electrical and electronic engineering as well as computer science. My research is application-driven and informed by close collaboration with experts from, e.g., transport engineering, medicine and industrial sectors: In the area of minimally invasive interventions, I explore novel flexible tools for colo-rectal and abdominal surgery, haptic feedback actuators to support margin control in robotic surgery and data from valvuloplasty balloons to overcome current shortcomings in transcatheter aortic valve implantation. For industrial application, I develop a new generation of collaborative robots that have variable stiffness links and are inherently safe to work closely together with the human. In the field of autonomous vehicles, I build a soft, stiffness-controllable and shape-changing driving seat to guide the driver in a safe way when changing between different levels of autonomy.

I have built my Soft Haptics & Robotics Lab (http://softhaptics.website) leading a multi-disciplinary team of PhD students and Research Fellows. I have accomplished this through repeatedly success in securing highly-competitive, multidisciplinary research-related activities. This has established and maintained my international reputations in academia and as sustained provider of advice to international industry and government with significant international engagement.

Teaching Summary

My research excellence provides the basis for inclusive supervision and exciting research-led teaching resulting in education excellence. At UCL, I am involved in teaching activities:

  • I am tutor of the modules Control and Instrumentation (MECH0010) and Vibrations, Acoustics and Control (MECHGM04).
  • I supervise third-year UGT students during their individual project (Undergraduate Individual Project), PGT students during their MSc individual projects (MSc Individual Project) and PGT students during their group projects (MSc Group Design Project).
  • For students enrolled to the MRes/MSc students Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering as well Robotics and Computation, I offer individual projects within the field of studies.
  • I have volunteered to offer my expertise and experience in project report writing and presentations to all project students – UCL Mechanical Engineering organise these sessions throughout the summer terms.

JAN-2016 Lecturer in Medical Devices Department of Mechanical Engineering University College London, United Kingdom
JAN-2012 – DEC-2015 EU Project Manager Deparment of Informatics King's College London, United Kingdom
SEP-2011 – DEC-2015 Research Associate Deparment of Informatics King's College London, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2012   Doctorat King's College London
2008   Diplom- Ingenieur Leibniz Universitat Hannover
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