Atakan Varol


Investigator / Associate Professor at the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics

H. Atakan Varol

PhD, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2009
MSc, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2007
BSc, Mechatronics Engineering, Sabanci University, 2005

Research background and achievements
After finishing undergraduate studies in Mechatronics Engineering at Sabanci University (Istanbul, Turkey) in 2005, Atakan Varol conducted his graduate studies in Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University under the supervision of Dr. Michael Goldfarb. His PhD was on the supervisory control of a powered robotic knee and ankle prosthesis. After finishing his PhD in 2009, he worked as a research faculty (firstly as a research associate and then as a research assistant professor) at the Mechanical Engineering Department of Vanderbilt University. He was affiliated with the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, where he was mentoring graduate students and supervising research engineers for the development of upper and lower limb robotic rehabilitative devices. At Vanderbilt, during 2005-2011 Atakan Varol participated in several projects as a researcher or co-PI.
- Multigrasp Myoelectric Control of a Hand Prosthesis, and Assessment of Efficacy
(National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA - R21HD068753), role: co-investigator, completion status: completed.
This work resulted in multiple patents, peer reviewed journal and conference publications. The outcomes of this project (know-how and intellectual property) were in the hand prosthesis package licensed to Orthocare Innovations by Vanderbilt University. Atakan Varol is one of the two major intellectual property contributors to the Orthocare Innovations license. The company is currently working on introducing this prosthesis to the market in 2013.
- Robotic Prosthesis for Biomimetic Locomotion in Transfemoral Amputees
(National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA R01EB005684-01), role: started as researcher, continued as co-investigator, completion status: completed.
Atakan Varol conducted his PhD work in this project. Project demonstrated that intelligent powered lower limb prostheses are feasible with the current technology, resulted in a multitude of patents, gathered wide public attention and investor interest. The resulting know-how and patents have been licensed to Freedom Innovations and Atakan Varol is the second highest intellectual property owner (based on royalty sharing agreements) after Prof. Michael Goldfarb. Freedom Innovations is currently working on bringing the robotic leg prosthesis to market in 2014.
- Development of a Neural Interface for Powered Lower Limb Prostheses
(Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), USA - W81XWH-09-2-0020), role: researcher, completion status: completed.
This project was a Northwestern University Center for Bionic Medicine initiative for creating advanced neural interfaces for biomechatronics devices. Atakan Varol was responsible in facilitating Vanderbilt powered lower limb know-how transfer to Northwestern researchers. This work resulted in one journal publication and one international patent. Part of this work was in the lower limb commercialization package licensed to Freedom Innovations.

Atakan Varol is an experienced mechatronics engineer with advanced skills in computer aided mechanical design, embedded electronics, control theory, sensors, actuators and machine learning. He actively published in respected journals in the area of robotics, mechatronics and rehabilitation. His work is highly cited (http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=NYdtGTwAAAAJ&hl=en ). With his co-authors, he was the recipient of the Best Paper Award in the International Conference in Rehabilitation Robotics Conference (2009). Five publications and patents of Atakan Varol related to robotics and mechatronics are given below:

1. M. Goldfarb, H.A. Varol, F. Sup, J. Mitchell, and T.J. Withrow, Powered Leg Prosthesis and Control Methodologies for Obtaining Near Normal Gait, Provisional patent filed April 2008, US patent filed April 2009, US patent pending (US 20090265018).
2. M. Goldfarb, H.A. Varol, S.A. Dalley, and T.E. Wiste, Control System for Jointed Mechanical Devices, Filed August 2009, US patent pending (WO Patent WO/2011/022,572, 2011).
3. F. Sup, H.A. Varol, and M. Goldfarb, “Upslope Walking with a Powered Transfemoral Prosthesis,” IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, vol. 19, no.1, pp. 71-78, 2011. (ICORR 2009 Best Paper Award)
4. H.A. Varol, F. Sup, and M. Goldfarb, “Real-Time Multiclass Intent Recognition of a Powered Transfemoral Prosthesis,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 542-551, 2010.
5. F. Sup, H. A. Varol, J. Mitchell, T. J. Withrow, and M. Goldfarb, “Preliminary Evaluations of a Self-Contained Anthropomorphic Transfemoral Prosthesis,” IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 667-676, 2009.

Atakan Varol started as a founding faculty member at the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics of Nazarbayev University in August 2011. He is an active researcher and is currently working on the following projects at Nazarbayev University:

• Hybrid Quadruped Robotic Platform for Investigation of Synergistic Legged and Wheeled Locomotion, (Research project grant from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Education and Science (submitted in 2011, awarded in 2012 for 2012 - 2013), role: principal investigator, completion status: ongoing.
• Design and Implementation of a Dynamometer Setup for Biomechatronics Applications (Nazarbayev University seed research grant for 2012), role: principal investigator, completion status: ongoing.
• Investigation of Sensor Fusion Algorithms with a Pan-Tilt LIDAR System
(Nazarbayev University seed research grant for 2012), role: co-principal investigator, completion status: ongoing.

Contact details:
Email: ahvarol@nu.edu.kz
Office phone: +7 7172 706561