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headshot of Shahrzad Towfighian

Shahrzad Towfighian

Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering

Background

Towfighian’s research focuses on micro-electro-mechanical sensors/actuators (MEMS) and energy harvesting. Her research group develops mathematical models of electromechanical systems to simulate their behavior and to study the influence of parameters affecting their performance. She validates these mathematical models by making prototypes and characterizing their responses. The common theme in her research is energy conversion and dynamics of micro-scale devices. She is particularly interested in the application of dynamical systems in biomedical devices. Towfighian is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) awards. In her recently funded NSF project, Towfighian is creating self-powered shock sensors by combining generators and micro-actuators. This combination enables detecting a threshold force and responding by automatic opening of a micro-switch. This capability enhances the speed and reliability of airbag deployment devices. In a previous NSF project, Towfighian and her collaborator Miles explored a new way of capacitive sensing called repulsive sensors, which can revolutionize billions of miniature devices such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and MEMS microphones that suffer from instability, caused by electrostatic force. For her NIH grant, she investigates the self-powered load sensors for total knee replacements, which helps monitoring the joint health after replacement. This measurement system can be used as a self-awareness device to raise alert when certain activities occur that may damage the implant, thus it can prevent interventions.

Research Lab:

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Education

  • BS, Amirkabir University of Technology
  • MS, Ryerson University
  • PhD, University of Waterloo

Research Interests

  • Mems actuators and sensors
  • mechanical vibration
  • linear and nonlinear dynamics
  • energy harvesting

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae