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Research Engineer/Scientist, Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)

At Toyota Research Institute (TRI), we’re on a mission to improve the quality of human life. We’re developing new tools and capabilities to amplify the human experience. To lead this transformative shift in mobility, we’ve built a world-class team in Human-Centered AI, Human Interactive Driving, Energy and Materials, Machine Learning, and Robotics!
Our HASTEN (Helping Aging Society: Tactile Embodied Nudging) collaborative team brings together complementary research and engineering expertise in physical human-robot interaction, bubblized soft robotics, humanoid systems, software development, user-centered design, and occupational and physical therapy experts. Our team develops robotic technology, sensing, and algorithms for supporting older adults in their homes with activities of daily living that require large amounts of surface contact between people and robots in order for robots to provide supportive assistance, in the context of stability and mobility such as getting up from a chair and dressing.
In these close proximity and directly hands-on physical contact human-robot interactions, safety is paramount! Therefore, the focus of this role will be to develop pHRI algorithms that are robust and provably biomechanically sound such that our end-users feel secure and comfortable when being supported and assisted by our robots. This role is on the RUXID (Robotics UX & Interaction Design) team, which comprises UX researchers and designers, as well as HRI researchers. The RUXID team collaborates closely with TRI’s robotics engineering teams.


    • Research formal methods for safe hands-on, physical human-robot interactions derived from user needs of aging society.
    • Develop provably ergonomically safe physical human-robot interactions derived from expert human-human demonstrations.
    • Collect multi-modal data sets (motion capture and various tactile sensors) of expert demonstrations for controller development.
    • Develop and deploy these algorithmic solutions in a physics-based simulation and on real hardware and conduct user studies with real people.
    • Collaborate cross-functionally with user experience researchers and designers, roboticists, and software engineers.
    • Follow software practices that produce maintainable code, including automated testing, continuous integration, code style conformity, and code review.


    • M.S. or Ph.D. (Robotics, Biomechanical / Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, Human-Robot Interaction, or related engineering field) OR equivalent practical experience.
    • Knowledge of key robotics areas such as trajectory optimization, sampling based planners, reactive planning and control, compliant motion control, modeling soft-contact, and coordinated whole-body control.
    • Experience in applying machine learning to real robots, including areas such as reinforcement, imitation, and sim2real transfer.
    • Experience with robotic applications that involve humans in the loop, including human intent estimation and testing out proof of concepts with users.
    • Experience with and understanding of multi-modal sensing including visual perception (e.g., cameras, lidar) and force/contact sensors (e.g., force-torque sensors, pressure/tactile sensing).
    • Strong software engineering skills, preferably in C++ and Python, and experience deploying onto physical robotic systems, including strong analysis and debugging skills.
    • Experience with robotic system integration in the context of complex, open-ended, cross-functional projects.
    • Experience with deployment of high DoF (degrees of freedom) robots in the real world (i.e., home settings) for extended periods and debugging/servicing as needed.
    • Desire to iterate on concepts to include end-user or Subject Matter Expert feedback and prove out concepts in user studies.
    • A great temmate with strong communication skills, and a willingness to learn from others and contribute back to the robotics community with publications and open source code.
    • Passion for seeing robotics help humans and desire to have a real-world, large-scale impact.
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