dr. A. Sadeghi (Ali)

Assistant Professor

About Me

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente, where I direct the Soft Robotics Lab. I am also one of the tenure trackers of 4TU Dutch Soft Robotics Program.


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 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 urchin, and octopus. 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 solution and developed several novel textiles based stiffness tuning and clutching solutions.






Fields of interest

Soft Care and Rehabilitation Robots - Soft Robotics - Growing Robots - Additive Manufacturing of Smart Structures - Sensor Integrated Soft Actuators - Stiffness Tunable Structures 

Currently, I am investigating 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 method of integration into soft-bodied robots. I am always passionate and collaborative in bringing the soft robotics solutions to various areas of applications from biomedical  and wearable technologies to education, architecture, and art. 



Veale, A. J. , Sadeghi, A. , & van der Kooij, H. (2020). Slime filled pressurized actuators: Reducing leakage by 400,000 times. Abstract from IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2020.
Di Natali, C. , Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Bottenberg, E., Hartigan, B., De Eyto, A., O'Sullivan, L., Rocon, E., Stadler, K., Mazzolai, B., Caldwell, D. G., & Ortiz, J. (2020). Pneumatic Quasi-Passive Actuation for Soft Assistive Lower Limbs Exoskeleton. Frontiers in neurorobotics, 14, [31]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbot.2020.00031
Babu, S. P. M., Visentin, F. , Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2020). A Soft Sensorized Foot Module to Understand Anisotropic Terrains during Soft Robot Locomotion. IEEE Robotics and automation letters, 5(3), 4055-4061. [9064564]. https://doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2020.2986983
Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Totaro, M., Mazzolai, B., & Beccai, L. (2019). A Wearable Sensory Textile-Based Clutch with High Blocking Force. Advanced engineering materials, 21(11), [1900886]. https://doi.org/10.1002/adem.201900886
Other Contributions

  • Sadeghi, A. and Mazzolai, B., " System for non-destructive penetration of a substrate" (TO2013A000588) - (PCT/IB2014/062758) - (EP 14747720.2) - (US 14/904229 )- (CN)
  • Sadeghi, A. , Popova, L., Tonazzini, A., and Mazzolai, B., “Device for automatic and non-destructive environments penetration” FI2013A000101
  • Sadeghi, A. , Nili Ahmadabadi, M., Moradi, H., “Human Inspired Pole Climbing Robot” USPTO. Application Number 29342930





  • Mazzolai B, Mondini A, Del Dottore E, Sadeghi A., Self-growing Adaptable Soft Robots. Mechanically Responsive Materials for Soft Robotics. 2020 Jan 7.


  • Meder, F., Naselli, G. A., Sadeghi, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2019). Remotely LightPowered Soft Fluidic Actuators Based on PlasmonicDriven Phase Transitions in Elastic Constraint. Advanced Materials.
  • Sadeghi, Ali, Emanuela Del Dottore, Alessio Mondini, and Barbara Mazzolai. "Passive Morphological Adaptation for Obstacle Avoidance in a Self-Growing Robot Produced by Additive Manufacturing." Soft robotics (2019).
  • Mazzolai, Barbara, Alessio Mondini, Francesca Tramacere, Gianluca Riccomi, Ali Sadeghi, Goffredo Giordano, Emanuela Del Dottore, Massimiliano Scaccia, Massimo Zampato, and Stefano Carminati. "OctopusInspired Soft Arm with Suction Cups for Enhanced Grasping Tasks in Confined Environments." Advanced Intelligent Systems (2019): 1900041.
  • Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Totaro, M., Mazzolai, B., & Beccai, L. A "Wearable Sensory TextileBased Clutch with High Blocking Force"Advanced Engineering Materials, 1900886.
  • Visentin, Francesco, Ali Sadeghi, and Barbara Mazzolai. "Dynamic Obstacles Detection for Robotic Soil Explorations." 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE, 2019.
  • Shoushtari, A. L., Naselli, G. A., Sadeghi, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2019, May). INFORA: A Novel Inflatable Origami-based Actuator. In 2019 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (pp. 7415-7420). IEEE.
  • Sadeghi, Ali, Alessio Mondini, and Barbara Mazzolai. "A Vacuum Powered Soft Textile-Based Clutch." Actuators. Vol. 8. No. 2. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2019.
  • Babu, S. M., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2019, April). Antagonistic Pneumatic Actuators with Variable Stiffness for Soft Robotic Applications. In 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft) (pp. 283-288). IEEE.
  • Del Dottore, E., Mondini, A., Sadeghi, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2019). Characterization of the Growing from the Tip as Robot Locomotion Strategy. Frontiers in Robotics and AI6, 45.

  • Meder, F., Must, I., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Filippeschi, C., Beccai, L., ... & Mazzolai, B. (2018). Natural Triboelectric Generators: Energy Conversion at the Cuticle of Living Plants (Adv. Funct. Mater. 51/2018). Advanced Functional Materials28(51), 1870365.
  • Meder, F., Must, I., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Filippeschi, C., Beccai, L., ... & Mazzolai, B. (2018). Energy Conversion at the Cuticle of Living Plants. Advanced Functional Materials28(51), 1806689.
  • Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2018, October). Preliminary experimental study on variable stiffness structures based on textile jamming for wearable robotics. In International Symposium on Wearable Robotics (pp. 49-52). Springer, Cham.
  • Del Dottore, E., A. Sadeghi , A. Mondini, V., Mattoli, & B., Mazzolai. "Toward Growing Robots: A Historical Evolution from Cellular to Plant-Inspired Robotics." Frontiers in Robotics and AI 5 (2018): 16.
  • Mishra, A. K., A., Mondini, E., Del Dottore, A., Sadeghi, F., Tramacere, & B. Mazzolai. "Modular Continuum Manipulator: Analysis and Characterization of Its Basic Module." Biomimetics 3, no. 1 (2018): 3.
  • Del Dottore, E., A., Mondini, A., Sadeghi, & B., Mazzolai. "Swarming Behavior Emerging from the Uptake–Kinetics Feedback Control in a Plant-Root-Inspired Robot." Applied Sciences 8, no. 1 (2018): 47.
  • Sadeghi, A. , Mondini, A., and Mazzolai. B. “A Preliminary Experimental Study on Variable Stiffness Structures Based on Textile Jamming for Wearable Robotics” International Symposium on Wearable Robotics: Wearable Robotics: Challenges and Trends.Springer, 2018. (accepted)
  • Del Dottore, E., Mondini, A., Sadeghi, A. , & Mazzolai, B. (2018, April). A plant-inspired kinematic model for growing robots. In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft). IEEE.
  • Babu, S. M., Sadeghi, A. , Mondini, A., & Mazzolai, B. (2018, April). Soft sucker shoe for anti-slippage application. In 2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft). IEEE.
  • Mazzolai, B., Del Dottore, E., Sadeghi, A. , Mondini, A., & Tramacere, F. (2018). Robots that grow like plants. Bulletin of the American Physical Society.
  • Del Dottore, E., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., & Mazzolai, B. “A continuous process of material deposition for growing robots inspired by plants” ICRA 2018, Brisbane, Australia 21-25 May 2018
  • Del Dottore, E., A. Mondini, A. Sadeghi , V. Mattoli, & B. Mazzolai. "An efficient soil penetration strategy for explorative robots inspired by plant root circumnutation movements."  Bioinspiration & biomimetics 13, no. 1 (2017): 015003.
  • Sadeghi, A ., Mondini, A., & Mazzolai. B. "Toward Self-Growing Soft Robots Inspired by Plant Roots and Based on Additive Manufacturing Technologies."  Soft Robotics. 2017
  • Mishra, A.K., Del Dottore, E., Sadeghi, A ., Mondini, A., and Mazzolai. A. "SIMBA: Tendon-Driven Modular Continuum Arm with Soft Reconfigurable Gripper."  Frontiers in Robotics and AI 4 (2017): 4
  • Sadeghi, A. , Mondini, A., Del Dottore, E., Mishra, A.K., and Mazzolai, B., "Soft Legged Wheel-Based Robot with Terrestrial Locomotion Abilities." Frontiers in Robotics and AI 3 (2016): 73.
  • Sadeghi, A ., Mondini, A., Del Dottore, A., Mattoli, V., Beccai, L., Taccola, S., Lucarotti, C., Totaro, M., and Mazzolai. B., "A plant-inspired robot with soft differential bending capabilities."  Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 12, no. 1 (2016): 015001.
  • Tonazzini, A., Sadeghi, A., & Mazzolai. B., "Electrorheological Valves for Flexible Fluidic Actuators."  Soft Robotics 3, no. 1 (2016): 34-41.
  • Popova, L., Tonazzini, A., Di Michele, F., Russino, A., Sadeghi, A. , Sinibaldi, E., & Mazzolai. B., "Unveiling the kinematics of the avoidance response in maize (Zen mays) primary roots."  Biologia 71, no. 2 (2016): 161-168.
  • Del Dottore, E., Mondini, A., Sadeghi , A., Mattoli, V., and Mazzolai, B., "Circumnutations as a Penetration Strategy in a Plant-Root-Inspired Robot." In Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2016 IEEE International Conference on, pp. 4722-4728. IEEE, 2016.
  • Taghavi, M., Sadeghi, A ., Mondini, A., Mazzolai, B., Beccai, L., Mattoli, V., (2015) -Triboelectric smart machine elements and self-powered encoder, Nano Energy (2015) 13, 92–102
  • Lucarotti C., Totaro, M., Sadeghi, A ., Mazzolai, B., Beccai L., (2015) -Revealing bending and force in a soft body through a plant root inspired approach, Scientific Reports
  • Sadeghi, A. , Mondini, A. and Mazzolai B., “Soft Linear Actuation by Helical Springs in a Plant Inspired Robotic Root” IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) Congress Center Hamburg Sept 28 - Oct 2, 2015.  Hamburg, Germany
  • Sadeghi, A. , Tonazzini, A., Popova, L., Mazzolai, B., (2014) A Novel Growing Device Inspired by Plant Root Soil Penetration Behaviors. PLoS ONE 9(2): e90139. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090139
  • Taghavi, M., Sadeghi, A. , Mazzolai, B., Beccai, L., Mattoli, V., “Triboelectric-Based Harvesting of Gas Flow Energy and Powerless Sensing Applications”. Applied Surface Science, 323 (2014): 82-87.
  • Taghavi, M., Mattoli, V., Sadeghi, A. , Mazzolai, B. and Beccai, L., (2014) - A novel soft metal-polymer composite for multi-directional pressure energy harvesting, Advanced Energy Materials, 1614-6832
  • Sadeghi, A. , Tonazzini, A., Popova, L., and Mazzolai, B., “Robotic Mechanism for Soil Penetration Inspired by Plant Root.” ICRA 2013 - May 6 - 10, 2013, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Tonazzini , A., Sadeghi, A. , Popova, L., and Mazzolai, B., “Plant Root Strategies for Robotic Soil Penetration.” Living Machine, 2013, London, July/August 2013 
  • Popova , L., Tonazzini, A., Russino, A., Sadeghi, A. , and Mazzolai, B., “Embodied Behavior of Plant Roots in Obstacle Avoidance.”Living Machine, 2013, London, July/August 2013
  • Sadeghi , A. , Tonazzini, A., Popova, L., and Mazzolai, B, “Soil Explorer Robot Inspired by Plant Roots.” Soft Robotics 2013, July 14-19 2013, Ascona, Switzerland 2013
  • Tonazzini , A., Sadeghi, A. , Popova, L, and Mazzolai, B., “Flexible Bending Actuator for a Root Inspired Exploration Robot.” Soft Robotics 2013, July 14-19 2013, Ascona, Switzerland 2013
  • Popova , L., Sadeghi, A. , Tonazzini, A., and Mazzolai, B., “Intelligent Structures in Plants: Embodied Intelligence in Erodium Seed.” Soft Robotics 2013, July 14-19 2013, Ascona, Switzerland 2013
  • Sadeghi , A. , Beccai, L., Mazzolai, B., “Design and Development of Innovative Adhesive Suckers Inspired by the Tube Feet of Sea Urchins” Accepted in IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics June 24-27,2012 Roma, Italy
  • Sadeghi, A. , Moradi, H. and Nili Ahmadabadi, M., 2012. “Analysis, simulation, and implementation of a human-inspired pole climbing robot.”  Robotica, 30(2), pp.279-287.
  • Nili Ahmadabadi , M., Moradi, H., Sadeghi, A. , Madani, A.; Farahnak, M., "The evolution of UT pole climbing robots," Applied Robotics for the Power Industry (CARPI), 1st International Conference.  vol., no., pp.1-6, 5-7 (2010)
  • Bidgoly, H. J., Vafaei, A., Sadeghi, A. , & Nili Ahmadabadi, M., “Learning approach to study effect of flexible spine on running behavior of a quadruped robot.” Proceeding of International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (Vol. 2010, pp. 1195-1201) .( 2010)
  • Jahanshahi, A., Pajouhi, H, Tamaddon, A.H., Sadeghi, A., Mohajerzadeh, S., “Enhanced UV-Assisted Vertical Etching of PET for fabrication of Micro Systems”, Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 19: 074016. , (2009).
  • Sadeghi, A. , Moradi, H. and Nili Ahmadabadi, M. "Analysis, simulation and implementation of a human inspired climbing robot.", Proc. of 11th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and the Support Technologies for Mobile Machines (2008). (best paper award in the category of “Climbing Robots”)
  • Sadeghi, A. , Moradi, H., and Nili Ahmadabadi, M., “A Human-Inspired Pole Climbing Robot”, IROS 2008, pp. 4199 – 4199, 2008.
  • Jahanshahi, A., Tamaddon, A.H., Sadeghi, A. , Mohajerzadeh S., and Izadi, N.,“Enhanced UV-Assisted Vertical Etching of PET Suitable For the Fabrication of Plastic Micro Systems”, in Proceedings of MME2008, pp. 197-201, Aachen, Germany
  • Shariat Panahi, M., Sadeghi, A. , “Tolerance Analysis of Mechanical Assemblies Using an enhanced Virtual Joints Method” Vol. 40, No. 6, Jan. 2007, Journal of University Of Tehran-College of Engineering (Special issue on Mechanical Engineering), 2007



Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex (building no. 20), room W108
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

Navigate to location

Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex  W108
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands