ECE alumnus is pioneering the next generation of industrial robotics

ECE News

Daniel Dexter, ECE ILLINOIS
8/29/2016 10:47:01 AM

Story Highlights

ECE alumnus Navid Aghasadeghi is designing collaborative robots for factories. Photo by Ryan Breslin/ Staff
ECE alumnus Navid Aghasadeghi is designing collaborative robots for factories. Photo by Ryan Breslin/ Staff

ECE alumnus Navid Aghasadeghi (MS ’10, PhD ’15) has been making waves in the robotics industry in Boston, Mass.

In a recent feature by, Aghasadeghi talked about his rewarding experience of working for Rethink Robotics and the development of the next generation of industrial robots.

“I really enjoy the fact that to make a robot there’s a bunch of different expertise that has to come together,” Aghasadeghi told “You have to know a little bit about different fields and think outside the box.”

Aghasadeghi worked with Professor Bruce Hajek for his master's degree and Associate Professor Timothy Bretl for his PhD.  Now, he is responsible for the motion of high-performance robots like Sawyer, who is capable of machine tending and circuit board testing. Sawyer has seven joints, which means that Aghasadeghi has to program the various motors for fluid and smooth motion.

Rethink Robotics first became known for inventing Baxter, an early iteration of its industrial robots, in 2012. Since then, the work Aghasadeghi and the rest of the Rethink Robotics team have done has been geared towards improving efficiency in manufacturing across world.

“The main idea is we want to make robots easy to train and can fit them into a range of tasks and applications,” Aghasadeghi told “You could have a company that builds any product, like toothpaste, and want to package them into boxes and typically you’d have a person with a very boring job packing toothpaste into boxes. Now you can just train Baxter or Sawyer to do this.”

Learn more in the original article.

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