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Irfan Hussain

Irfan Hussain

ِAssistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Office: +971 (0)2 607 5175
Email: Irfan.hussainku.ac.ae

Dr. Hussain is an assistant professor in Mechanical Engineering department at Khalifa University (KU), Abu Dhabi, UAE. He received his PhD degree (2013-2016) in robotics from University of Siena, Italy. He worked as post doctorate researcher at Khalifa University Center for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Oct 2017-Jan2020). Before joining KU, he was working as a post doctorate at Siena robotics and system lab (SIRSLab), Italy. He received his 2nd Level Master degree (2011-2012) in Automatica and Control Technologies from Politecnico Di Torino, Italy. He got Master degree in Mechatronics Engineering (2009-2011) from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. He received BE mechatronics engineering (2004-2008) from Air University, Pakistan. He worked as research assistant (2012-2013) in Gyeongsang National University, South Korea. He was research engineer in Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF), Italy. He worked as project engineer and later assistant manager engineering (2008-2011) in Trojans Pakistan. He is an Associate Editor of RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob)-18

Advisor to the following students & staff:

PhD Students

Zhenwei Niu

PhD, Robotics, University of Siena, Italy (2016)

M.S II Level Specializing Automation and Control Technologies, Politecnico di Torino,Italy (2012).

M.S. in Mechatronics Engineering, National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan (2011).

B.E in Mechatronics Engineering, AIR University, Islamabad, Pakistan (2008)

  •  MEEN 201 Dynamics
  •  MEEN 484 Mechatronics
  • MEEN 485 Introduction to Robotics
  • MEEN 487 Measurements and Instrumentation
  • MEEN 180- Computer-aided design
  • MEEN 200 Statics
  • MEEN 621 Feedback control or Control system theory and design
  • MEEN 356 Computer-Controlled Systems

Research Thrusts

  • Robotics
  • Mechatronics
  • Complaint Actuators

Research Topics:

  • Medical Robotics
  • Supernumerary (Extra) Robotic limbs
  • Wearable Haptics
  • Grasping and Manipulation
  • Soft Robotic hands
  • Complaint Manipulators
  • Exoskeletons and prosthesis

Recent Research Projects

Compliant Co-Robot for Safe Human-Robot Collaboration in Complex Industrial Tasks”, one of the six projects in KUCARS, type 1 robotics center. PI.
The project focuses on safe human-robot interactions based on novel mechanical system design, advanced sensing technology, intelligent control algorithms, and human intention prediction. A new robot manipulation system with switchable compliant and rigid working modes for safe human-robot co-working is being developed and benchmarked with state-of-the-art research and commercial manipulator systems, like the Baxter robot and KUKA iiwa. Towards this direction, we have developed novel discrete variable stiffness actuators to be used in a complaint robotic manipulator for safe Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). The novelty of the actuators lie in their design topology that allows stiffness level change independently from their position.


A 2-DOF compliant arm has been designed based on the proposed discrete variable-stiffness actuator. The manipulator prototype is under assembly and will be then used for extensive testing and experiments to explore the control strategies for safe human-robot interaction as the goal of this project.

Apart from complaint manipulator, we are building complaint robotic hands based on advance mathematical formulations, actuation and materials. The research will lead to innovative, lightweight, powerful, compact, and dexterous robotic technology for robotic hands and exploiting them in the emerging field of industrial automation and medical robotics for safe human robotic interaction.

  1. Hussain, G.Spagnoletti, G.Salvietti, D.Prattichizzo. Towards wearable  supernumerary robotic fingers to compensate the missing grasping abilities in hemiparetic upper limb. International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol 36, Issue 13-14, pp. 1414 – 1436, July 2017. 
  2. Salvietti, I.Hussain, M.Malvezzi, D.Prattichizzo. Design of the Passive Joints of Underactuated Modular Soft Hands for Fingertip Trajectory  Tracking in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 2008-2015, Oct. 2017. doi: 10.1109/LRA.2017.2718099
  3. Hussain, G.Spagnoletti, G.Salvietti, D.Prattichizzo. Supernumerary robotic finger and mobile arm support: from grasp compensation to hemiparetic upper limb rehabilitation. Robotics and Autonomous System, 93:1-12, 2017
  4. Salvietti, I.Hussain, D.Cioncoloni, S.Taddei, S.Rossi, D.Prattichizzo. Compensating Hand Function in Chronic Stroke Patients Through the Robotic Sixth Finger. Transaction on Neural System and Rehabilitation Engineering, 25(2):142-150, 2017.
  5. Hussain, G.Spagnoletti, G.Salvietti, D.Prattichizzo. An EMG Interface for the Control of Motion and Compliance of a Supernumerary Robotic Finger. Frontiers in neurorobotics, 10, p.18, 2016.
  6. Hussain, G. Salvietti, G. Spagnoletti, D. Prattichizzo. The Soft-SixthFinger: A Wearable EMG Controlled Robotic Extra-Finger for Grasp Compensation in Chronic Stroke Patients. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 1(2):1000-1006,2016.
  7. Meli, I. Hussain, M. Aurilio, M. Malvezzi, Marcia K. O Malley,
  8. Prattichizzo. The hBracelet: a wearable haptic device for the distributed mechanotactile stimulation of the upper limb. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 3(3):2198-2205, 2018.
  9. Hussain, F. Renda, M. Z. Iqbal, M. Malvezzi, G. Salvietti, L. Seneviratne,Gan, D. Prattichizzo. Modeling and Prototyping of an Underactuated Gripper Exploiting Joint Compliance and Modularity, in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 2854-2861, Oct. 2018. doi: 10.1109/LRA.2018.2845906 .
  10.  Awad M, Hussain I, Gan D, et al. Passive Discrete Variable Stiffness Joint (pDVSJ-II): Modeling, Design, Characterization and Testing Towards  Passive Haptic Interface. ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. 2018;():. doi:10.1115/1.4041640.
  11. I. Awad, D. Gan,I. Hussain et al  Design of A Novel Passive Binary-Controlled Variable Stiffness Joint (BpVSJ) Towards Passive Haptic Interface Application,” in IEEE Access, vol. 6,63045-63057, 2018. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2876802
  12. Hussain, A. Albalasie, M. I. Awad , D. Gan , L. Seneviratne, Modeling, Multiple Model Predictive Control and Numerical Simulations of a Novel Binary-Controlled Variable Stiffness Actuator (BcVSA) Frontiers in Robotics and AI 2018. doi: 10.3389/frobt.2018.00068.
  13. Anwar, T.Al Khawli, I. Hussain, D. Gan, F. Renda, (2019) “Modeling and prototyping of a soft closed-chain modular gripper”, Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, Vol. 46 Issue: 1, pp.135-145, https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2018-0180
  14. Hussain, Irfan, et al. “Modeling, Identification, and Control of a Discrete Variable Stiffness Actuator (DVSA).” Actuators. Vol. 8. No. 3.Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2019.
  15. Masia, Lorenzo; Hussain, Irfan et al: ‘Soft wearable assistive robotics:   exosuits and supernumerary limbs’ (Control, Robotics & Sensors, 2018)      ‘Wearable Exoskeleton Systems: Design, control and applications’, Chap. 10, 219-254, DOI: 10.1049/PBCE108E_ch10 IET Digital Library, http://digital-library.theiet.org/content/books/10.1049/pbce108e_ch10.
  16.  Hussain, G. Salvietti, M. Malvezzi and D. Prattichizzo, “On the role of stiffness design for fingertip trajectories of underactuated modular soft hands,” 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Singapore, 2017, pp. 3096-3101.doi: 10.1109/ICRA.2017.7989354.
  17. Hussain, L. Meli, C. Pacchierotti, D. Prattichizzo. A soft robotic supernumerary finger and a wearable cutaneous finger interface to compensate the missing grasping capabilities in chronic stroke patients. In 2017 IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC) (pp. 183-188). IEEE.
  18. Hussain, E. Santarnecchi, A. Leo, E. Ricciardi, S. Rossi and D. Prattichizzo, “A magnetic compatible supernumerary robotic finger for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) acquisitions: Device description and preliminary results,” 2017 International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), London, 2017, pp. 1177-1182.doi: 10.1109/ICORR.2017.8009409
  19. Hussain, G. Salvietti, and D. Prattichizzo. 2016. On Control Interfaces for the Robotic Sixth Finger. In Proceedings of the 7th Augmented Human International Conference 2016 (AH ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 49, 2 pages. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2875194.2875243
  20. Hussain, G. Salvietti, L. Meli, C. Pacchierotti, D. Prattichizzo. Using the robotic sixth finger and vibrotactile feedback for grasp compensation in chronic stroke patients. In Proc. IEEE/RAS-EMBS International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), Pages 67-72, Finalist for the Best Student Paper Award. Singapore, Republic of Singapore, 2015
  21. G. Salvietti, Z. Iqbal, I. Hussain, D. Prattichizzo and M. Malvezzi, “The Co-Gripper: A Wireless Cooperative Gripper for Safe Human Robot Interaction,” 2018 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Madrid, 2018, pp. 4576-4581. doi: 10.1109/IROS.2018.8593877

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