Research Opportunities

Perception Robotics - R&D Scientist –Conductive Polymer

SBIR Award Title

SBIR Phase II: Object Pose Estimation System for Pick and Place Robots

SBIR Award Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is improvement in cost-efficiency, energy-efficiency, and quality in manufacturing automation, increasing worker productivity and reducing repetitive motion injuries. This integrated visual-tactile system will be 3-4 times more inexpensive ($20,000 purchase cost vs. existing $65,000-80,000 vision system), improve the speed and accuracy of current robotic handling systems, and facilitate the automation of repetitive, injury-prone manual tasks. By enabling new robotic ... more

Research Opportunity

R&D Scientist –Conductive Polymer


525 S. Hewitt St
Los Angeles


Nicholas Wettels

Principal Investigator

Nicholas Wettels


The Perception Robotics LLC housed at the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator is looking for a two-year postdoctoral fellow to conduct research that contributes to one of our active NSF-supported research projects. In our current NSF SBIR Phase 2 project we work on an innovative type of compliant tactile sensing solution—a rubber “skin” that can be molded into any form factor, supports a variety of mechanical properties and is inherently inexpensive and durable. Our focus here is pose calculation in small parts handling; in essence, we seek to give industrial robots a sense of touch, coordinated with machine vision.

WHO WE ARE: Perception Robotics is a tech start-up, founded in April 2012 and housed at the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator We integrate a variety of industrial robot systems (including Fanuc, Kawasaki and Universal Robots) and conduct research for the National Science Foundation and NASA. We are a 7-person team with remote team members in Honolulu and Houston.
More company information can be found at
WHAT WE DO: Perception Robotics is a materials technology company focused on solving manipulation problems in industrial robotics. We have two unique technologies: 1) a pressure sensitive polymer that can be inexpensively cast into any shape and gives robots a sense of touch and 2) a gecko-like polymer that can rapidly transition from being sticky to not-sticky. We leverage these technologies to tackle robotic pick and place problems for robots. Combined with stereo cameras and smart software, we’re making the next generation of material handling robots and the first robotics company to solve picking problems using touch and vision.

Desired Knowledge

We are looking for a highly motivated chemist or material scientist with synthetic organic chemistry experience. You will work alongside our team to help improve the performance of our tactile sensors by introducing new conductive polymer. We love to think, design and work together to bring new ideas to the tables and you will need to have the same attitude. This is a great opportunity for someone who enjoys working in a small growing company and wants to feel their contribution is valued and appreciated. There are opportunities to learn and excel in R&D, process development, scale-up, as well as business management and technical marketing.

The preferred candidate will have an advanced degree (Ph.D.) in organic, physical or analytical chemistry, chemical engineering, polymer science or material science. The ideal candidate for this position will have a broad background in formulation chemistry, superior problem-solving skills. Additional R&D post-doctoral experience is a plus. The post-doctoral position will primarily require synthesis of polymers, polymer characterization, testing of the polymers for tactile sensor application and formulation development utilizing these polymers. Prior work with Urethane, Silicone and Nano-particles is desirable. This position requires a hands-on approach and experience with techniques and tools for creating, modifying, applying and characterizing conductive polymers.

This position is open immediately, and will remain open until filled. The preferred start date is as soon as possible. Based on the background and experience, we may add more fund toward the stipend. Please submit a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and a list of three references (including email addresses) to and