Ali Leylavi Shoushtari

I have received my Ph.D. in Biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa and MSc in Mechatronics from South Tehran Branch, Azad University. During my Ph.D., I designed and developed a Bio-inspired inverse kinematic algorithm for anthropomorphic robotic manipulators, and designed and developed a unified motion planning and compliance control framework for upper-arm Neuro-rehabilitation robotic tasks. Later on, I pursued research on the design, fabrication, and modeling of soft origami actuators at the Center for Micro-BioRobotics (CMBR), IIT as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2019 I joined the Farm Tech Group at Wageningen University & Research and am currently working on advanced soft grippers for delicate crop handling.

In the agri-food domain, fast and effective manipulation of very delicate products is a key issue that has not received much attention yet. This post-doc will design, manufacture and control an adaptive robotic gripper using soft materials, considering natural variability in food product mechanical properties e.g. shape and size. I am implementing a ‘’controlled surface properties approach” and embedding touch/pressure sensing elements in the gripper in order to achieve a safe, robust and autonomous grasping. To achieve this goal, in collaboration with the Experimental Zoology Group I will take inspiration from adhesive properties as well as grasping strategies of tree frog fingertip. Moreover, in collaboration with the Group of Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter in order to develop fabrication methods for soft actuators and soft sensors. By taking advantage of learning-based control we would be able to do model-free low-level control of actuator and high-level motion planning of grasping.