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Design, development, and optimisation of a six-legged robot for hybrid walking and manipulation in challenging environments

This project aims to develop a novel six-legged walking robot with features of high stability, mobility, manipulation, and precise-machining capabilities via optimised design of the leg mechanism and leg layout platform.

The research results of this project can benefit the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) industries by improving the robotic and autonomous capabilities during regular In-situ repair and maintenance in challenging environments.

You must have experience in robotics and/or practical experience with ROS environment. You should demonstrate skills in writing scientific reports and have a solid background in mathematics and computer programming (for example, Python, C++, Matlab).

You should be a highly motivated individual and possess a strong sense of curiosity. The ability to study independently, think critically and collaborate with others is essential.

You will have or will receive an undergraduate degree classified at 1st class or 2:1 (honours) in engineering, maths or physics. A postgraduate masters degree may be an advantage. Where appropriate, applicants must have English language proficiency to an overall score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.


[1] Camacho-Arreguin, JI., Wang, M., Russo, M., Dong, X. and Axinte, D. (2022) 'Novel Reconfigurable Walking Machine Tool Enables Symmetric and Nonsymmetric Walking Configurations'. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 0 (in press). pp. 1 - 12. ISSN: 1083-4435

[2] Camacho-Arreguin, J., Wang, M., Dong, X. and Axinte, D. (2020) 'A novel class of reconfigurable parallel kinematic manipulators: Concepts and Fourier-based singularity analysis'. Mechanism and Machine Theory, 153. pp. 103993 - 103993. ISSN: 0094-114X

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)

Mingfeng Wang -

Academic Career

  • Lecturer, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Brunel University London, 2021 - present.
  • Research Fellow, Rolls-Royce UTC in Manufacturing and On-Wing Technology, Department ofMechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Nottingham, 2017-2021.
  • Senior Research Associate, National Centre for Precision Farming, Harper Adams University, 2016-2017.

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • B.Eng. (Hons), Central South University, China, 2008.
  • M.Sc. (Distinction), Central South University, China, 2012.
  • P.hD., University of Cassino and South Lazio, Italy, 2016. 
  • AFHEA, Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK, 2021.
  • CEng, Chartered Engineer, Engineering Council UK, 2022.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Continuum robotic systems for in-situ maintenance (inspection and repair) in confined environments(e.g. aeroengine and nuclear).
  • Legged robotic systems with parallel mechanisms (e.g. humanoid and hexapod robots).
  • Precision farming robotic systems (e.g. laser weeding robot).
  • Miniaturised robotic systems (e.g. capsule robot)

Research Grants

  • PI, "Optimal design of a walking machine for in-situ maintenance and repair in hazardous environments",  Impact Acceleration Account - Brunel University (EPSRC EP/R511493/1), £25,000, 03/2022-03/2023.
  • Co-I, "Coordinated whole-body control and overall performance optimisation for a mobile snake-like robotic arm", International Exchanges 2020 Cost Share (NSFC) (IEC/NSFC/201279), £12,000, 03/2021-03/2022.
  • Co-I, "In-situ sampling for inspection of pressurised water reactor using RAIN-Hex robot", Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (EPSRC EP/R026084/1), £25,000, 06/2020-12/2020.
  • Co-I, "Self-calibration system to enhance machining capability of the RAIN-Hex", Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear (EPSRC EP/R026084/1), £25,000, 06/2019-02/2020.
  • PI, "Comprehensive modelling of slender continuum robots using twin-pivot compliant joints", Through-life performance: From science to instrumentation (EPSRC EP/P027121/1), £83,000, 06/2019-05/2019.
 Award -
  • BRIEF award, Brunel Research Initiative and Enterprise Fund, 2022
  • Best paper of Year 2021,  Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties, 2022
  • Best paper award, IFToMM Asian Mechanisms and Machine Science Conference (Asian-MMS), 2014.
  • IFToMM Young Delegates Programm, 2014, 2015.
  • Excellent Student Scholarship in Lazio, Italy, 2013/14, 2014/15.

Related Research Group(s)

Robotics and Automation

Robotics and Automation - We carry out world-class research in robotics and autonomous systems, exploiting and exploring opportunities to develop innovative solutions for industrial and societal applications.