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Ali Sadeghi

Post Doc
Senior Post Doc

Research Line

Bioinspired Soft Robotics




Polo Sant’Anna Valdera, No. 34, Viale R. Piaggio
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Ali Sadeghi is a Manufacturing and Production engineer with Ph.D. in Micro-BioRobotics. He got his Ph.D. degree with honor titled with "Novel Design Principles and Technologies for New Generation of Soft-Bodied Robots".  He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc., both in the Manufacturing and Production Engineering from Babol Noshirvani University of Technology (2001) and Faculty of Engineering of University of Tehran (2004) in Iran. He passed a one year course for designing plastic injection molds in Iranian Society of Toolmakers.

Since January 2010 He works at IIT-CMBR where his main research interests have focused on design and unconventional manufacturing technologies of soft-bodied robots. In particular, he has worked on plant inspired robots and technologies. During the European project PLANTOID he succeeded to invent and develop two world-first Growing Robots (that build their own structure) by integration of additive manufacturing technology as part of the robot body. Currently, Ali is working on the design and additive manufacturing of bio-inspired variable stiffness composites, soft robotic structures, and development of new manufacturing technologies for such structures. Ali has participated as Co-I and PI in the preparation of several, Italian, Iranian and European project proposals. In XoSoft (a soft under limb exoskeleton) he was responsible for actuation solution. He succeeded to propose several novel textiles based solutions. His textile based clutches are currently integrated on the XoSoft project prototypes.

In 2001 Ali worked as a mold designer and head of die making department at Almase saz Co. (a production company, active in hard metal cutting tools & powder metallurgy technology) for three years. Since 2004 to 2010 he worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) of University of Tehran and as a research associate in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (RAIL) at that university. At the University of Tehran, he proposed a new course of “Robotic Centered General Workshop” in which students make simple robots and mechatronics systems parallel to learning manufacturing methods and working with machine tools. His main projects in RAIL were design and development of a vacuum cleaning robot, two pole climbing robots, and a domestic mobile robotic platform.

Ali also teaches a Ph.D. course titled “Bioinspired Soft Robotics: Fundamentals of Fabrication and Characterization Technologies, at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, The BioRobotics Institute, Pisa, Italy


Growing Robots Bio-inspired Manufacturing Soft Robotics Textile technologies & Composites


Current European Project: 

SMASH: Smart Machine for Agricultural Solutions High-tech

XoSoft Soft modular biomimetic exoskeleton to assist people with mobility impairments - Coordinator: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia



Adaptive Grasping by Soft Robotic Solutions: (funded by Industry)

European Project PLANTOID (FP7-ICT-2011-C) Innovative Robotic Artefacts Inspired by Plant Roots for Soil Monitoring. Coordinator: Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (May 2012 – April 2015). Role: responsible for translating biological results and studies to engineering design and development of prototypes


(PLANTOID achieved the excellent mark in its final evaluation)

Iranian National Project: Pole climbing robot for washing highway lighting posts - Coordinator: Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Lab, University of Tehran - Funder: Iran Power Generation and Transmission Company (TAVANIR) - Role: responsible of mechanical design and development (2008-2010)

Iranian National Project: a Mobile robot for domestic applications (Vacuum Cleaner) - Coordinator: Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Lab, University of Tehran - Funder: Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO) - Role: responsible of mechanical design and development - 2007-2010

For the complete list of old projects please visit

Selected Publications


Book Chapters

Dario Lunni, Emanuela Del Dottore, Ali Sadeghi, Matteo Cianchetti, Edoardo Sinibaldi, Barbara Mazzolai: Investigation of Tip Extrusion as an Additive Manufacturing Strategy for Growing Robots. Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, 01/2018: pages 288-299


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

Journal Publications

Meder, F., Must, I., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A. Carlo Filippeschi, Beccai. L., Mattoli, V., Pasqualantonio, P., & Mazzolai, B. “Energy conversion at the cuticle of living plants” recently accepted for publication in Advanced Functional Materials

Del Dottore, E., Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Mattoli, V., & Mazzolai, B., "Toward Growing Robots: A Historical Evolution from Cellular to Plant-Inspired Robotics." Frontiers in Robotics and AI 5 (2018): 16.

Mishra, A. K., Mondini, A., Del Dottore, E., Sadeghi, A., Tramacere, F., & Mazzolai, B., "Modular Continuum Manipulator: Analysis and Characterization of Its Basic Module." Biomimetics 3, no. 1 (2018): 3.

Del Dottore, E., Mondini, A., Sadeghi, A., & Mazzolai, B., "Swarming Behavior Emerging from the Uptake–Kinetics Feedback Control in a Plant-Root-Inspired Robot." Applied Sciences 8, no. 1 (2018): 47.

Del Dottore, E., Mondini, A., Sadeghi, A., Mattoli, V., & Mazzolai V., "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.

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., 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., Moradi, H. and Nili Ahmadabadi, M., 2012. “Analysis, simulation, and implementation of a human-inspired pole climbing robot.” Robotica, 30(2), pp.279-287.

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).

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

Conference Papers

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 (WEROB 2018).

Sadeghi, A., Mondini, A., Del Dottore, E. and Mazzolai B “A Miniature and Flexible End Effector Actuated by Helical Springs” IROS2018 Workshop: Development of Agile Robotics, (IROS2018)

Naselli, G. A., Shoushtari, A. L., Sadeghi, A., Mazzolai, B., “A Softness Distribution Index” IROS2018 Workshop: Soft Robotic Modeling and Control: Bringing Together Articulated Soft Robots and Soft-Bodied Robot, (IROS2018)

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., 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.

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., 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

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 the 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)

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

Technical Reports

Ali Sadeghi, “Introduction to Mechanical Fabrication Techniques for Developing Robotic Machines” 2007

(This document contains a teacher instructor manual, student booklet, and student’s workshop manual)

Ali Sadeghi, “Grinding Tools” 2002 (in Persian)

Ali Sadeghi, “Steels for Plastic Molds” 2000 (in Persian)


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.