The European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) is seeking for a technical collaborator with some experience in Robotics/Electronics to work on development of a robotized sensor array (Flexible Grid Mapping Tool – FGMT project) in the framework of the AHEAD 2020 Europen project.
EGO is a French-Italian consortium, founded by INFN and CNRS to foster European collaboration in gravitational-wave research. EGO is located in Cascina, near Pisa – Italy, and hosts and operates the gravitational-wave detector Virgo, a 3 km-long laser interferometer. The Virgo project involves the participation of about 130 institutions with nearly 700 scientists, engineers and technicians from France, Italy, the Netherlands and other 13 European countries.
EGO welcomes applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial,ethnic or social origin, colour, religion, belief, or sexual orientation.
The FGMT project foresees the creation of ten smart robotic platforms, each carrying one seismic sensor, and capable of authonomously moving and positioning itself in assigned locations inside the Virgo experimental buildings (approximately 10×20 square meters), avoiding obstacles (e.g. electronics racks, cables on the floor, …) and managing floor imperfections (e.g. uneven or slippery surfaces, small steps, …). The assigned positions are computed by a control software unit and communicated to the robot wirelessly. The robots should move to the assigned locations with a approximately 10 cm of accuracy. Once in position, each robot should “deploy” the sensor assuring a good mechanical contact to the floor, start the acquisition of seismic data and transfer it wirelessly to the control unit. Upon needs, robots should move to the recharging station.
The control unit analyzes the seismic data in real time and determines a new configuration of the robot units to optimally fulfill a certain observation task.
The specific task of interest for the Virgo gravitational wave detector is the cancellation of the noise contribution due to the gravitational force acting on the interferometer test masses.
The mobile sensor array has additional potential application, such as mapping environmental noise fields (e.g. seismic, acoustic, magnetic) at the sites of the future underground 10-km scale detectors (like the Einstein Telescope), or the exploration of the environment of remote and inaccessible large areas on Earth.
The FGMT has been factored into modules.
The first module is the Central Control Unit (CCU) which receives the sensor(s) data and the position coordinates (from all the robot units of the array) and processes them to produce new optimized positions. A prototype version of the CCU has been built.
The second module is the Mobile Platform Unit (MPU) – to be replicated N times. The MPU would consist of a mechanical frame on wheels and a localization system. The MPU shall: move autonomously within the assigned area (i.e.Virgo experimental buildings) avoiding obstacles, determine its own position coordinates, and reposition itself upon request.
The third module is the Data acquisition and data Transfer Unit (DTU). This unit, also to be replicated ten times, performs both the readout and digitization of the sensor signal and accomplishes the wireless transmission of the data (sensor signal and position coordinates) to-and -from the MPU and the CCU. The DTU is in a final prototyping phase. It consists of: a Raspberry-pi micro-controller module with a 24-bit 1kHz sampling ADC, one GPSDO ultra-stable clock, Wi-Fi communication with the Virgo data acquisition system.
The selected candidate will collaborate with EGO engineers and scientists and have the support of the EGO laboratory facilities (electronics laboratory, mechanical workshop, computing center) for the design, realization and testing of the robotic array.
The chosen candidate will have to:
- Design, construct and test of analog and digital electronic parts of the robot;
- Design, construct, test and debug the MPU (components and sensors selection, etc…);
- Design and programming of the localization system of the MPU;
- Documentation of engineering designs, prototyping and testing activities.
Essential required qualifications and experience
- High-school diploma in the scientific or technical field;
- Educational courses in robotics or electronics;
- Knowledge and experience in using C and/or Arduino coding;
- Basic knowledge of spoken and written English;
- No criminal convictions.
Desired qualifications and experience
One or more of the following will be an asset:
- Knowledge of Italian;
- Experience in debugging and testing of robotic units;
- Three-year University degree in automation, or robotics, or electronics, or control engineering;
- Background in different fields like electronics, mechanics, controls;
- Knowledge of EDA tools (Altium, Cadence, Eagle etc.);
- Experience in working with Raspberry PI and/or Arduino microcontrollers;
Place of work
EGO – European Gravitational Observatory – via E. Amaldi 5, 56021 Loc. S.Stefano a Macerata – Cascina (Pisa) ITALY. Given the lack of public transport to reach EGO, a driving license and a personal vehicle are strongly recommended.
Type of contract
One-year contract, as “Collaboratore Tecnico” (Technical Collaborator), according to the “Contratto Collettivo di Lavoro del Personale EGO” (EGO personnel collective bargaining agreement). The gross monthly salary, paid in thirteen instalments, is established by the aforementioned collective bargaining agreement according to the professional profile. Additional benefits include severance pay and yearly performance bonus.
Only candidates who meet the above essential requirements are admitted to the selection procedure.
The evaluation of the candidates admitted to the procedure is assigned to a Selection Board appointed by the Director of EGO. The Selection Board will determine the evaluation criteria in the first meeting.
The first phase of the selection will be based on a review of the Application Forms and other documents received in line with the above-mentioned essential and desired requirements.
Only candidates who have obtained the minimum score established by the Selection Board in the first meeting will be able to access to the second phase of the selection, which will consist of an interview.
During the interview the Selection Board will verify the knowledge of the English language, the level of knowledge and experience in using C and/or Arduino coding and the other desired required qualifications and experience.
At the end of the interviews the Selection Board will draw up a ranking of the candidates who obtained the minimum score established during the first meeting.
The EGO Consortium has the free right not to proceed with the recruitment.
Under Article 13 of UE Regulation (EU) 2016/79 of the European Parliament and of the Council, required personal data will be exclusively collected and treated for purposes strictly connected to the selection procedure also with the use of computerized procedures, according to current law and regulations concerning the implementation of this kind of activity.
Providing such data to EGO is necessary for the evaluation of participation requirements and of the holding of titles: failure to provide these data may compromise such evaluation.
Data will be kept only for the period required by the selection, evaluation and audit procedures.
EGO guarantees each person the right of access to personal data, as well as the rectification, or erasure or restriction of them, as well as the right to object to their processing; such requests shall be addressed to
How to apply?
Candidates can send their CV and the EGO Application Form (to be found here) together with a cover letter and eventual reference letters, to quoting the reference number of this vacancy notice.
Closing date for applications
July 15, 2022
Start of contract
The earliest possible