Post-Doctoral Research Visit F/M Ergonomics and biomechanics impact of a wrist exoskeleton on cutting and deboning tasks – Rennes, France

Posted 2 years ago

Contract type : Fixed-term contract

Level of qualifications required : PhD or equivalent

Fonction : Post-Doctoral Research Visit

About the research centre or Inria department

The Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique Centre is one of Inria’s eight centres and has more than thirty research teams. The Inria Center is a major and recognized player in the field of digital sciences. It is at the heart of a rich R&D and innovation ecosystem: highly innovative PMEs, large industrial groups, competitiveness clusters, research and higher education players, laboratories of excellence, technological research institute, etc


Food industry concentrates a quarter of the recognized work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) in France. In such an industry, workers are particularly exposed to physical risk factors (cold, repetitive tasks, heavy loads…), due to the lack of automatization of strenuous tasks. Among all, cutting/deboning tasks in meat industry are particularly prone to injuries and focus a lot of ergonomic interventions. The industrial project in which this position is funded aims at developing and commercializing a wrist exoskeleton able to assist butchers in the realization of such tasks to minimize their exposure to physical risks of WMSD development. The exoskeleton is actuated with artificial muscles, able to provide a compliant force assistance to the task to be performed. From an initial prototype that served as a proof of concept, the project is developing a fully operational product.

The project is leaded by a R&D company specialized in the food industry, in charge of the development of the exoskeleton, with in coordination with two other actors that are an industrial meat company – use case provider and integration evaluation – and ENS Rennes – virtual prototyping and biomechanical evaluation.

The main mission of the recruited post doctoral fellow will be to qualify in biomechanical and ergonomics terms the impact of the successive exoskeleton prototypes on the task (cutting and deboning) realization. This will be done thanks to experimentation in simulated conditions of meat cutting tasks and a motion analysis based on motion capture, EMG and musculoskeletal analysis of the aforementioned tasks.

 This research topic will be carried out in Rennes, the capital of Brittany and the tenth largest city in France, with a metropolitan area of about 720,000 inhabitants. Moreover, with more than 66,000 students, Rennes is also the eighth-largest university campus of France and it has the 2nd highest concentration of digital and ICT firms in France after Paris. Rennes is also known to be one of the most festive and lively cities of France, home of several music and culture festivals. In 2018, the newspaper “L’Express” named Rennes as “the most liveable city in France”.

The post-doctoral fellow will join the Inria MimeTIC team (, internationally recognized for its multidisciplinary approach to analyse, model and synthesize motion. The candidate will be integrated into a group of about 10 persons working on musculoskeletal simulation and particularly on the CusToM library. The candidate will also have access to unique experimental platforms Immersia and Immermove which offer a high-tech set-up to perform user experiments in real and virtual environments and measure motion (motion capture, EMG, EKG, force sensors, eye trackers).


A post-doctoral fellow will be hired to work full time on the project (12 months) to work at ENS Rennes. His/Her main mission will be the musculoskeletal analysis of the the tasks performed with and without exoskeleton for comparison in biomechanical and ergonomics terms.

Main activities

He/She will be in charge of two main actions:

  • Defining and conducting recurrent experimentations involving meat industry employees, in which meat cutting and deboning tasks will be realized with and without the assistive device
  • Defining and conducting a comparative analysis of the impact of the assistive device on the task realization, in biomechanical and ergonomics terms. We particularly focus on approaches such as the maximum acceptable effort to characterize the task in ergonomics terms.

The post-doctoral fellow will have to manage his/her work within the frame of the projet by retroplanning, team meetings, work presentations and publications.

Muller, A., Pontonnier, C., Puchaud, P., & Dumont, G. (2019). CusToM: a Matlab toolbox for musculoskeletal simulation. Journal of Open Source Software, 4(33), 1-3.

Potvin, J. R. (2012). Predicting maximum acceptable efforts for repetitive tasks: an equation based on duty cycle. Human factors54(2), 175-188.



  • Motion analysis (kinematics, dynamics, musculoskeletal)
  • Experimentation (mocap, emg, …)
  • Ergonomics (physical)


  • Assistive devices
  • Mechatronics


  • Teamwork
  • Scientific writing
  • English

Benefits package

  • Subsidized meals
  • Partial reimbursement of public transport costs


Monthly gross salary amounting to 2 653 euros

General Information

  • Theme/Domain : Modeling and Control for Life Sciences
    Biologie et santé, Sciences de la vie et de la terre (BAP A)
  • Town/city : Rennes
  • Inria Center : CRI Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique
  • Starting date : 2022-03-01
  • Duration of contract : 12 months
  • Deadline to apply : 2022-02-25


The keys to success

The project is clearly applicative but involves many scientific issues of interest:

  • experimental validation of musculoskeletal simulations;
  • task characterization from an ergonomic point of view;
  • motion analysis and synchronisation with an assistive device.

Pontonnier, C., de Zee, M., Samani, A., Dumont, G., & Madeleine, P. (2011). Meat cutting tasks analysis using 3D instrumented knife and motion capture. In 15th Nordic-Baltic Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics (NBC 2011) (pp. 144-147). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Pontonnier, C., Marie, S., Chander, D. S., Kirchhofer, S., & Gréau, M. (2021). Evaluating the action detection of an active exoskeleton: a muscle-control synchronicity approach for meat cutting assistance. Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering.

About Inria

Inria is the French national research institute dedicated to digital science and technology. It employs 2,600 people. Its 200 agile project teams, generally run jointly with academic partners, include more than 3,500 scientists and engineers working to meet the challenges of digital technology, often at the interface with other disciplines. The Institute also employs numerous talents in over forty different professions. 900 research support staff contribute to the preparation and development of scientific and entrepreneurial projects that have a worldwide impact.

Instruction to apply

Please submit online : your resume, cover letter and letters of recommendation eventually

Defence Security :
This position is likely to be situated in a restricted area (ZRR), as defined in Decree No. 2011-1425 relating to the protection of national scientific and technical potential (PPST).Authorisation to enter an area is granted by the director of the unit, following a favourable Ministerial decision, as defined in the decree of 3 July 2012 relating to the PPST. An unfavourable Ministerial decision in respect of a position situated in a ZRR would result in the cancellation of the appointment.

Recruitment Policy :
As part of its diversity policy, all Inria positions are accessible to people with disabilities.

Warning : you must enter your e-mail address in order to save your application to Inria. Applications must be submitted online on the Inria website. Processing of applications sent from other channels is not guaranteed.

Job Features

Job CategoryTeaching and scientific research

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