PhD Candidate in Medical Robotics & Teleoperation

Recent features on UBC Graduate Studies website, UBC Engineering Physics website

I am a PhD candidate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, studying medical robotics and imaging with Prof. Tim Salcudean. My research focuses on novel approaches to teleoperation and human computer interaction in these fields, including implementing haptic feedback on surgical robots by developing novel optical and magnetic force sensing techniques and applying control theory. Further, I am developing an exciting new concept of "human teleoperation" (see here). Currently I am working at ImFusion on autonomous robotic ultrasound for a 4-month internship. On the side, I am researching hyperspectral fluorescence spectroscopy-guided neurosurgery with researchers at the University Hospital of Münster, Germany (see here).

Additionally, I am an avid skier, paragliding pilot, speed flyer, climber, and trail runner (View some highlights - all photos on this site are of or by me). I am fluent (written and spoken) in English and German, play cello, follow the Bundesliga and Premier League, and love to travel. I am an efficient, motivated, hard worker and fast learner, and work well on teams. Below is a list of my experiences, education, etc.

David Black

Photo of Me

Through my background in Engineering Physics coupled with my project work, I have gained a breadth of skills in software, mechanical, and electrical engineering, as well as a strong background in mathematics and physics. This unique skillset is ideal for robotics or medical imaging applications and gives me a diverse knowledge of all aspects of the project so that I can jump in anywhere and communicate between all three disciplines of engineers as well as physicists.

I was featured in this article by UBC Electrical and Computer Engineering, this article by the UBC Institute for Computing, Information, and Cognitive Science, and this article by UBC Engineering Physics

Curriculum Vitae



May 2021 - Present
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Focus on Medical Robotics and Teleoperation)
See courses

December 2023
Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Imperial College, London
Hamlyn Winter School on Surgical Imaging and Vision
Won runner-up best project award

September 2016 - May 2021
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Bachelor of Applied Science in Engineering Physics
See courses

Work Experience

May 2024 - Present
Robotics Engineer Intern at ImFusion GmbH, Munich, Germany

April 2021 - April 2022
Co-Founder & Lead Engineer of Snowspines Inc.

May - September 2020
Robotics Engineer Co-op at A&K Robotics

May - December 2019
UBC Robotics and Control Lab Research Student

January 2018-April 2019
Carl Zeiss Meditec AG Advanced Development Internship

September 2011 - April 2017
BC Soccer Referee

April - September 2016
Mountain Equipment Co-op Vancouver Floor Staff

Project Experience

July 2020 - Present
Mixed Reality Telemedicine (UBC Robotics & Control Lab)

September 2022 - Present
Low Profile Magnetic Force/Torque Sensing (UBC Robotics & Control Lab)

October 2019 - Present
Fluorescence Guided Neurosurgery Research (University Hospital of Münster, Germany; Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, Oberkochen, Germany; Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

December 2023 - Present
SLAM for Robotic Endonasal Surgery (UBC; Moorsfield Eye Hospital, London, UK; DLR, Munich)

September 2023 - Present
Mixed Reality-Guided Trans-oral Robotic Surgery (University of British Columbia; Vancouver General Hospital)

September 2021 - December 2021
Optimal Joint Scheduling of eMBB and URLLC Traffic on the 5G NR (UBC EECE 565 Course)

September 2019 - April 2021
Robotic Anthropomorphic PET Phantom (BC Cancer Research Centre)

May - December 2019
Force/Torque Sensing for Robotic Surgery (UBC Robotics & Control Lab)

August 2019
Custom Thermal Cycler Design for CellenONE single-cell isolator and dispenser (BC Cancer Research Centre)

July - August 2018
Autonomous Mobile Robot Competition (UBC Engineering Physics Robot Course)

September 2016 - December 2017
UBC Solar Car Vehicle Dynamics Team Lead





Awarded Grant Proposals

I have written or helped write several grant proposals, which have all been funded

Supervision, Mentorship, and Teaching


I have provided reviews for:

Misc. Presentations


Avid backcountry skier, paragliding pilot, rock climber, mountaineer (View some highlights)
Fluent in German and English
Play cello

Computer Skills Confidence:

MATLAB, Python, C#, C++, LaTeX, Linux, ROS, ROSBridge, da Vinci Research Kit, Unity, Microsoft Mixed Reality Toolkit, WebSocket, WebRTC, CAD (SolidWorks, Fusion 360, OnShape), FEA (ANSYS, Solidworks), Microcontrollers (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, STM32), LTSpice


Computer Vision, Reinforcement Learning, Machine Learning, Android Studio, C, PCB Design (Altium, KiCAD), Communication (Networking, SPI, I2C, UART, BLE, TCP/IP, 5G)


Julia, Assembly Language, VHDL


Other Skills:



Robotics and Control Lab
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Google Scholar
UBC Biomedical Imaging and AI
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