Dr. Irfan Hussain
irfan hussain Assistant Professor Mechanical Engineering

Contact Information
irfan.hussain@ku.ac.ae +9712401 8470


Dr. Irfan Hussain an Assistant Professor in Robotics and Mechanical Engineering at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, UAE. He is author of one book, more than 70 articles and 3 inventions.  He is Associate Editor of proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science. Research Topic Editor on "Wearable Robots and Sensorimotor Interfaces: Augmentation, Rehabilitation, Assistance or substitution of human sensorimotor function" (ID 21096), frontiers in Neurorobotics. Guest Editor, Special Issue "Design and Development of Vision-Based Tactile Sensors" A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). He is an Associate Editor of IEEE/ RAS ICRA-23, ICRA-22, ICRA-21, RAS/EMBS BioRob-18 and. He received his PhD degree in robotics from University of Siena, Italy.  He was a post doctorate researcher at Robotics Institute at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE. He also worked as a post doctorate at Siena robotics and system lab (SIRSLab), Italy. He received his 2nd Level Master degree in Automatica and Control Technologies from Politecnico Di Torino, Italy. He got MS degree in Mechatronics Engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. He received BE mechatronics engineering from Air University, Pakistan. He worked as research assistant in Gyeongsang National University, South Korea, from 2012 to 2013. He was visiting researcher in Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF), Italy. He worked as assistant manager engineering in Trojans Pakistan from 2008 to 2011. His research interests include embodied intelligence, exoskeletons, extra robotic limbs, soft robotic hands, wearable haptics, grasping and manipulation.

  • Ph.D. in Information Engineering, University of Siena, Siena, Italy.
  • M.S II Level Specializing Automatica and Control Technologies, Politecnico di Torino, Italyly
  • M.S. in Mechatronics Engineering, National University of Science and Technology, Pakistann.
  • B.E in Mechatronics Engineering, AIR University, Islamabad, Pakistann.

  • Engineering Dynamics (MEEN201)
  • Mechatronics (MEEN484)
  • control theory and design
  • Computer controlled Systems

Affiliated Research Institutes/Centers
  • KU Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems
  • Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute

Research Interests
  • Universal Grasping and Manipulation
  • Embodied AI
  • Biomedical robotics (Exoskeleton. Supernumerary robotic limbs, Prosthesis)
  • Applied AI
  • Collaborative Robots
  • Autonomous robotic systems
  • Haptics
  • Soft grippers and compliant manipulators
  • Underwater Robotics

Research Projects

FSU-2021-019:  Robotic Hands with Embodied Human like Compliance and Sensing for Soft Manipulation.

The complexity of grasping and manipulation is proven by many studies and involves a good merger of mechanical design, actuation, sensing and control. My work has contributed in providing disruptive innovation based on physically intelligence for the development of simple, compliant, yet strong, robust, and easy-to-program robotic hands. A Systematic approach of modeling and prototyping soft robotic hands with embodied intelligence inspired by human hands has been adopted starting from simulating human hand synergies, mathematical models for the manipulation optimization to realization of robotic hands with advance materials as illustrated in Fig. The main pillars of the research are human hand synergies based grasp analysis, development of the mathematical models for the grasping and manipulation optimization and using advance composites materials for the realization of the prototype, testing and validation. I have contributed internationally in the field of grasping algorithms and tactile sensing based on neuromorphic event-based cameras. Moreover, our team is working on developing end-to-end algorithms for grasping in a cluttered environment. I intend to apply the developed technology to open manipulation problems related to food, agriculture, medical and other industrial applications to handle irregularly shaped, flexible, and easily damageable goods.

MBZIRC 2023: The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge

The MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge is focused on deploying robot technology for ensuring maritime security. The challenge involves a heterogeneous fleet of autonomous aerial and surface vehicles collaborating in a relatively large GNSS-denied environment along the coast of Abu Dhabi, to detect predefined targets and to retrieve predefined objects from the targets. This is a highly complex problem and the key technical challenges include:

  • Real world robot autonomy in a large, complex environment
  • GPS-denied robot navigation 
  • Robot collaboration for wide area cooperative search 
  • Detection of relatively small targets in a relatively large area 
  • UAV interactions with the environment - grasping and manipulations.  
  • USV interactions with the environment - grasping and manipulations.

We will use a robotic system consists of 20 UAVs and 1 USV (with robotic arm) to solve the MBZIRC 2024 Maritime Grand Challenge tasks. These will include several inspection UAVs (up to 10) to search the 10 square km area, in a formation, to detect the targets. One or more inspection UAV will also approach the target vessels to completes the 3D modeling. Once the targets are identified, the USV will navigate to the target vessel. A transportation UAV will take off from the deck of the USV to pick up the light object(s) on the target vessel using airborne vision and will return back to the USV deck to place the object(s). Two transportation UAVs will be used to manipulate the heavy object to the edge of the target vessel. The USV robot manipulator will then pick up the heavy object and place on the deck.

CIRA-2021-085: Autonomous Underwater Robotic System for Aquaculture Applications

UAE is developing substantial aquaculture infrastructure to provide for its fish demand indigenously. Aquafarms consist of special enclosures named fish cages/net pens to culture fish in the open sea while protecting them from predators. For the well-being of the fish, it is important to monitor their feed and condition while ensuring the cleanliness and integrity of the fish net. Currently, divers and/or multiple remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are deployed for inspecting and maintaining aquafarms; this approach is expensive and requires highly skilled human operators. This project aims to develop an autonomous underwater robotic system, for the inspection and monitoring of aquafarm cages, to reduce cost, and improve quality and ease of operation. In particular, we are interested in utilizing advanced computer vision techniques coupled with ROV to regularly perform the detection of fish net defects including biofouling, plants, and holes as well as the detection of fish health including normal fish, dead fish, and hypoxia. We believe such innovative robotics-applied solutions will help in the sustainability and profitability of the aquaculture industry in the UAE. 

VRI: AI driven Robotics for Greenhouse and indoor farming. 

Realization of global food security faces significant challenges given the increased growth of global population and urbanization, along with the factors assoicated with climate change that negatively affect food sources such as the increased occurance of extreme events and pests.  According to the World Bank, only 0.5% of the UAE's land is arable and has decreased by 3% annually due to desertification and soil degradation. With such challenges, researchers have directed their efforts towards achieving Precision Agriculture (PA), defined as the use of technological advances to enhance agricultural operations, and applying such technologies in indoor farming (greenhouses, vertical farming, and hydroponics. Among these technologies, robotics arise as a promising factor thay may greatly contribute towards enhanced farming process by reducing the cost and waste, automating repititive tasks, and increasing the operational safety and efficiency.  We will develop AI driven robotic solutions for monitoring, precision delivery, sampling and harvesting green house and indoor farming. Furthermore, soil hosts more than 25% of all biodiversity on the planet and is the foundation of the food chains nourishing man and of aboveground biodiversity. Here again in this project, we are going to monitor the soil in terms of water capacity and organic content using hyperspectral sensing with AI techniques to characterize the soil.

Compliant Knee Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation and Assistance of post-stroke hemiplegic patients

People who have been through a stroke experience trouble performing mobility tasks. The lower-limb joints of post-stroke hemiplegic patients can be affected. Specifically, the knee is more vulnerable. Frequent knee pain affects approximately 25% of adults, limits function and mobility, and impairs quality of life. In traditional rehabilitation therapies, patients perform repetitive limb movements with the help of a physical therapist.  This approach requires extensive and consistent training periods for patients, as well as intensive labor for therapists. Robotic devices like Exoskeleton can provide great advantage in terms of mobility enhancement and effective rehabilitation. However, commercially available Exoskeletons have limitations interms of portability and actuation. We propose a novel compliant knee exoskeleton which can provide stiffness modulation similar to human knee joint during gait. Thus, providing effective rehabilitation and assistance to patients.

Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Muhayyuddin Ahmed Post Doctoral Fellow
Ahmad Aljarah Research Associate
Omar Faris Research Associate
Hamed Toubar Research Associate
Basma Hasanen Research Associate
Abdullah Mohamed Ali Research visitor
Waseem Akram Post Doctoral Fellow
Lochan Kshetrimayum Post Doctoral Fellow
Asim Khan Post Doctoral Fellow
Lyes Saad Saoud Post Doctoral Fellow
Ahsan Baidar Bakht Research Associate
Zhenwei Niu PHD Student
Binzhao XU PHD Student
Islam Ahmed El Sayed MSC Graduate

Saveral PostDoc positions are avaliable under following projects. To apply please send you CV at irfan.hussain@ku.ac.ae

  • PostDoc position on Robot-Animal interactions
  • PostDoc position on Aguaculture
  • PostDoc position on port inspection  
  • PostDoc position on green house farming