dr.ir. M.I. Refai (Mohamed Irfan)

Assistant Professor

About Me

Assistant Professor at the crossroads of AI and sensing techniques applied to space biomechanics and wearable robotics. I am part of the Neuromechanical Engineering Chair.  

I have extensive background in musculoskeletal modeling for real-time applications, sensor fusion for wearable biomechanics, and data-driven approaches for biomechanics. This helps me identify how we can explore novel methodologies for movement sensing in extreme environments by fusing model-based and data-driven approaches. 


Engineering & Materials Science
Extended Kalman Filters
Units Of Measurement
Agriculture & Biology
Medicine & Life Sciences
Biomechanical Phenomena
Hand Strength


I have built my research career around different themes within assistive biomechanics.  Currently, I am an Assistant Professor with Prof. Massimo Sartori within the Neuromechanical Engineering chair. My focus is towards fusing data-driven and model-based approaches for sensing and assisting movement in extreme environments (Space for example). 

During my postdoctoral research, I worked with two EU Horizon projects SOPHIA (https://project-sophia.eu/) and SWAG (SWAG (swag-project.eu)). The SOPHIA project developed real-time personalized musculoskeletal models (also accounting for fatigue) to understand the impact of and provide assistance to back support exosuits. Within the SWAG project, we will extend the musculoskeletal models to capture biological joint stiffness during gait. 

During my Ph.D., I worked within a Dutch NWO project AMBITION with Dr. Bert-Jan van Beijnum, Prof. Peter Veltink, and Prof. Jaap Buurke to develop a reduced wearable IMU set to measure movement quality after stroke. The study advanced the state of the art in measuring movement post stroke, and also extended the capabilities of wearable technology for this aspect. 

I was formally trained as a Biomedical Engineer during my Bachelor's and as an Electrical Engineer during my Master's. 


Refai, M. I. M., Sridar, S., Govaerts, R., Chini, G., Varrecchia, T., Del Ferraro, S., Falcone, T., De Bock, S., Molinaro, V., Elprama, S. A., Jacobs, A., Ranavolo, A., De Pauw, K. , van der Kooij, H. , & Sartori, M. (2023). Does a Soft Actuated Back Exosuit Influence Multimodal Physiological Measurements and User Perception During an Industry Inspired Task? In 2023 International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, ICORR 2023 (IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICORR58425.2023.10304777
Refai, M. I. , & Sartori, M. (2023). Real-time fatigue tracking using electromyography driven musculoskeletal models. Abstract from 28th Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics, ESB 2023, Maastricht, Netherlands.
Feola, E. , Refai, M. I., Costanzi, D. , Sartori, M., & Calanca, A. (2023). A Neuromechanical Model-Based Strategy to Estimate the Operator’s Payload in Industrial Lifting Tasks. IEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering, 31, 4644-4652. https://doi.org/10.1109/TNSRE.2023.3334993
Niehaus, S., Ajoudani, A., Bianchi, M. , Durandau, G., Fritzsche, L., Gaertner, C. , Refai, M. I. , Sartori, M., Wang, H., & Wischniewski, S. (2022). Human-centred design of robotic systems and exoskeletons using digital human models within the research project SOPHIA. Zeitschrift für Arbeitswissenschaft, 76(4), 450–458. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41449-022-00335-5
Refai, M. I. M. , Van Beijnum, B. J. F. , Buurke, J. H. , & Veltink, P. H. (2022). Centroidal Moment Pivot for ambulatory estimation of relative feet and CoM movement post stroke: Portable Gait Lab. In 2022 International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, ICORR 2022 (IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics; Vol. 2022). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICORR55369.2022.9896526
Mohamed Refai, M. I., Wang, H. , Moya Esteban, A. , & Sartori, M. (2022). Fatigue analysis using electromyography driven musculoskeletal trunk models. Abstract from 27th Congress of the European Society of Biomechanics, ESB 2022, Porto, Portugal.
Saes, M. , Mohamed Refai, M. I. , van Beijnum, B.-J. F., Bussmann, J. B. J., Jansma, E. P. , Veltink, P. H. , Buurke, J. H., van Wegen, E. E. H., Meskers, C. G. M., Krakauer, J., & Kwakkel, G. (2022). Quantifying Quality of Reaching Movements Longitudinally Post-Stroke: A Systematic Review. Neurorehabilitation and neural repair, 36(3), 183-207. https://doi.org/10.1177/15459683211062890

UT Research Information System

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Master courses                                                                                     

  • Biomechatronics (Course 201200133): Taught lectures on electromyography processing, neuromusculoskeletal modelling, robotic control interfaces, sensor fusion (Kalman Filtering), inertial navigation, and its applications in literature. Created assignments that applied these concepts, graded students, and conducted exams on this topic. 
  • Technology for Health (Course 201500222): Served as Capita Selecta Lecturer, and expert/instructor for the topic ‘Ambulatory sensing’ and evaluated final grant proposals.
  • Research Experiments in Databases and Information Retrieval (Course 201300074): Served as project supervisor. Instructed students with applying machine learning models on inertial data to classify activities such as reaching, and evaluated their final report.

Bachelor courses                                                                                  

  • Meten is Weten (To Measure is to Know; Course 202000840): Taught the Programming module. Students learnt how to use python from scratch and use it in other aspects of the course.
  • De Bewegende Mens en Gezondheidsrecht (The Moving Human and Health Law; Course 202000825): Instructor for the Motion Capture practical. Setup laboratory and drafted manual for equipment such as Qualisys motion tracker, Force plates, Delsys EMG systems, and Biodex dynamometer for Bachelor students. Will be involved in evaluating experimental protocols, and final course reports.
  • Biorobotics (Course 201800178): Coached and assisted students with programming embedded sensors using C# and MicroPython during their robot building project. 

Affiliated Study Programmes


Courses Academic Year  2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses Academic Year  2022/2023

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex (building no. 20), room Z134
De Horst 2
7522LW  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Engineering Technology
Horst Complex  Z134
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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