HP Inc. UK LTD funded PhD Scholarship at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in Object Identification and Authentication using Microscopic Forensic Signatures

The technology provider HP Inc. (HP) and the world renowned Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) are working together on an exciting new research project to develop novel sensors and algorithms aimed at realising low-cost technology for the capture of unique surface characteristics from differing substrate types (e.g. paper, ceramic, plastic etc.). Both 3D structural and 2D spectral signals will be investigated at the microscopic scale (defined here as 1-3um XY, 100nm Z), with the aim of recovering and describing properties that naturally occur at the surface, or which can be introduced, in order to realise a unique object recognition signature.

About the Studentship

Estimating 3D surface texture and reflectance at microscale is a challenging, problem with a number of unsolved issues, and requires the capture of highly dense microstructures.

This project will focus on:

  1. Using a range of optical/computer vision techniques to capture and recover 3D surfaces of substrates at microscale.
  2. Investigating the simultaneous recovery of multispectral signals and 3D structure at the microscopic scale.
  3. Developing novel algorithms to derive translation and rotation invariant signatures of different categories of substrates.
  4. Developing novel machine learning approaches (use of deep learning concepts) to characterise substrates at the microscale level and identify their inherent properties.

3D depth recovery approaches such as structured light and stereo reconstruction will be considered, along with alternative methods based on phase shift interferometry and/or focus variation. Likewise, approaches looking at the narrow band spectral shifting data, captured using a hyperspectral imaging device (or a custom based multispectral image capture system) will also be investigated. In addition, this project will also investigate approaches looking at using localised properties (surface reflectance, surface texture and 3D properties) of a surface at microscale in order to build a more generalised meta-surface structure characterisation, say using a Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) approach.

The aim will be to establish signatures which can be captured using low-cost technology, are unique at the item level, can be readily compared and which have strong statistical significance. Typically this may be achieved through:

  1. the printing of a registration mark
  2. including sufficient information in the signature for self-registration or
  3. introducing a small degree of rotation and transitional invariance into the signature itself.

Experienced BRL research academics from the Centre for Machine Vision (CMV), will work together with HP’s senior design engineers to provide guidance throughout the research programme. The CMV has developed internationally leading research and expertise in innovative 3D surface recovery solutions applied to different areas, including medical, agri-tech, digital advertising and others. Augmented by HP’s specialised skills at developing low-cost microscopic scale devices, this research will use a range of state-of-art optical/computer vision techniques developed at the CMV to generate innovate solutions for the capture, recovery and characterisation of substrates at microscale.

The PhD will be at the CMV in BRL and will benefit from links with the existing CDT programme (http://farscope.bris.ac.uk/) within the BRL.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Professor Melvyn Smith: melvyn.smith@uwe.ac.uk

Funding details

The studentship is available from 1 April 2018 for a period of 3.5 years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is currently £14,553 per annum. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to 3.5 years (Home/EU rates only). There is a possibility for overseas applicants to have the full tuition fee rates covered for each year of study.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must have a good honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) in subjects such as electronic engineering, computer science, computer vision, physics, sensor science. A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Download and complete the Graduate School studentship application form and send it directly to the UWE Bristol Graduate School. Please ensure you include the title of the research project you propose to undertake, and detail why you are interested in undertaking this PhD project and what relevant knowledge, experience and qualifications you would bring to the research. Please see the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes for further information about how to complete the application form.

Please also complete the Equal Opportunities monitoring form and complete the first section of the Graduate School application reference sheet before sending to your nominated referees.

Further information

If you have not heard from us by 28 February 2018, we thank you for your application, but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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