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Saad Y

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of Texas Austin (UT Austin)


Mechanical Engineering, Rehabilitation Robotics, Human-Robot Interaction, Surgical Robotics, Design for Wearable Devices


Hi! I'm currently a PhD student in the ReNeu Robotics Lab at UT Austin focusing on studying physical human-robot interaction in wearable devices. My research integrates knowledge of underlying human soft tissue properties to design more ergonomic and effective attachment mechanisms for wearable robots. My goal is to enable the next generation of wearable devices to seamlessly integrate with the human user and advance the use of robots in rehabilitation, daily assistance, human augmentation, and virtual reality. Alongside my graduate studies, I love watching sports such as basketball and baseball and I enjoy recreationally playing sports such as tennis, squash, and volleyball. I'm always down to try a new place to eat with friends or hunker down for a fun board game night. I find that a good social balance makes the graduate school experience that much more enjoyable.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Design of an Upper Body Exoskeleton for Rehabilitation

Robots are increasingly being used in medicine, and a growing application is rehabilitation after neuromuscular injury such as stroke. The design of an exoskeleton starts with analysis of the underlying human muscoloskeletal structure to inform the design of the robot's kinematic linkages. Considering the complexity of the human upper-body, it is best to focus on a specific subset of human degrees of freedom (ie: shoulder motion, elbow flexion/extension, etc). This choice should be motivated by which human joints are relevant to the impairments caused by the neuromuscular injury in question. Once the structure of the exoskeleton is formulated, kinematic and kinetic analysis must be performed to assess how well the wearable robot will interact with a user and if it's suitable for use in a rehabilitation environment.

Enabling the Meta-Verse: A Virtual Reality Environment for Wearable Robots

The pairing of virtual reality (VR) with wearable devices will advance the adoption of the meta-verse in daily life. Wearable robotic devices provide many advantages for VR such as the fine application of forces to the human user and the accurate measurement of position and force data from the human-robot interaction. The possibilities are endless for virtual environments which can be paired with wearable devices to create an amazing user experience. The VR environment can be developed in a physics platform such as Unity and integrated with an existing wearable robotic device, either in simulation or in real life.

Coding skills

Matlab, C++, Python

Languages I know

Urdu, Hindi, Arabic

Teaching experience

During my undergraduate degree, I have been a teaching assistant for multiple courses including an introductory MATLAB course and an introductory engineering design course. For the introductory MATLAB course, I taught one lecture per week and held office hours. For the introductory engineering design course, I worked closely with teams of 4-5 students who were working on design projects from companies such as NASA, the Houston Zoo, the Children's Museum of Houston, etc. Also during my undergraduate time at Rice University, I served as an advisor for Orientation Week (O-Week) at my residential college. In this role, I provided mentorship to incoming new students, acclimating them to the university both academically and socially. I also established a mentorship program in one of my undergraduate clubs, organizing the logisitics of the program and serving as a mentor myself.


Work experience

Houston Mechatronics Inc (2018 - 2019)
Mechanical Engineering Intern
Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (2016 - 2016)
Engineering Design Intern
Meta Reality Labs (2023 - 2024)
Research Scientist Intern


Rice University
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas Austin (UT Austin)
MS Master of Science candidate
Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas Austin (UT Austin)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Mechanical Engineering

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