I am an assistant professor at the University of Twente, where I direct the Soft Robotics Lab. In this lab, we investigate new materials and techniques for additive manufacturing of soft robots and smart composites. In particular, my research focuses on the design and development of novel fundamental components (e.g. actuators and sensors) and their methods of integration into functional soft-bodied robots. I am passionate about bringing soft robotics solutions to various areas of applications from biomedical and wearable technologies to education, architecture, and art.
I received my Ph.D. with honor (cum laude) in the field of Micro-BioRobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy (2013), and both my M.Sc. and B.Sc. in the field of Manufacturing & Production Engineering from the University of Tehran (2004) and Noshirvani University of Technology (2001) in Iran.
After several years of working in the industry, I began my academic career as a lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Tehran (2004-2010), where I developed several service robots (e.g. power line pole climbing and domestic robots), as well as polymer micromachining facilities. My passion for soft robotics was born and grown at the Center for Micro-Bio Robotics of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) where I worked from January 2010 to July 2019. During this period, I mainly focused on the design and unconventional manufacturing of soft-bodied robots, particularly inspired by biological models such as plants, sea urchins, and octopuses. Inspired by plant movements, I pioneered the new concept of Growing Robots (robots moving and adapting by creating their own structure) and succeeded in inventing the world’s first examples of these robots by incorporating additive manufacturing technology as part of the robot structure.
I have participated in proposal preparation and implementation of several European, Italian, and Iranian projects (e.g. GROWBOT, XoSoft, SMASH, PLANTOID, and UTPCR). In XoSoft (soft under limb exoskeleton), I was responsible for actuation solutions and developed several novel textiles-based stiffness tuning and clutching solutions.