Funded PhD: Designing Digital Multisensory Textile Experiences Available!

Qualification type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK students, EU settled status students only
Funding amount: Funded
Hours: Full Time
Open for application

About the Project

Multi-Sensory Devices (MSD) group is an interdisciplinary research group within UCLIC with a core interest in creating new forms of interactive multisensory user experiences through the development and exploitation of novel sensor and actuator technology. We are a full-stack research group combining physical and social sciences with prototyping, electronic control, computational fabrication, perceptual research, and experience design. The MSD group consists of several PhD students and postdoctoral staff exploring research at the intersection of these disciplines.

Within this group, Prof. Marianna Obrist has an opening for a PhD student with research interest in mid-air haptics (e.g., ultrasound technology) and multisensory experiences. This PhD project will be part of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Textiles Circularity Centre, led by the Royal College of Art, and various academic and industry partners across the UK.

The student will be based at UCL and focus on the exploration of emerging multisensory technologies to engage consumers in digitally immersive experiences that amplify couplings between the resource flow, human well-being and satisfaction. In other words, this PhD project will design digital multisensory textile/material experiences based on the integration of multiple stimulation devices (i.e. haptic and olfactory devices) in a virtual environment to evaluate the effect on consumer experiences.

Previous researchers from the group have studied the use of mid-air haptics in virtual reality, integrated different sensory elements to make invisible concepts perceivable (e.g. dark matter), and defined the design space of smell through a range of applications including VR.

In summary, the specific objectives for this PhD project are as follows:

Understand the mechanisms of transmitting and modulating textile/material experiences through multisensory technology, especially the integration of tactile and olfactory stimuli in VR.
Design virtual environments that are based on the sensory properties of different materials, material origins and mapped towards carefully selected sensory elements.
Evaluate the effect of multisensory textile experiences on consumer satisfaction and wellbeing in various aspects of textile circularity.


The successful applicant will have freedom to steer the direction towards their interests and strengths within the UKRI Centre ambition. The ideal candidate will have

A BSc or MSc degree in Computer Science, Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality or related field with a high appreciation for emerging multisensory technologies
Programming skills for VR development (C#, C++, Python) and familiarity with platforms like Unity and Unreal
Experience with software and hardware integration
Good communication skills; especially in written English
Strong work ethic and the ability to think creatively and independently


Interested candidates are encouraged to get in contact with Marianna Obrist before submitting an application ( via the UCL application system: Apply here