Soha Pouya

Former PhD Student, Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL

Short Bio

I was a research assistant and PhD candidateat at Biorobotics Laboratory from April 2009 to December 2013 and worked on locomotion control for modular and legged robots. Prior to that, I received a M.Sc. in Dynamics and Control Engineering (2009) and a B.Sc. in Aerospace Engineering (2006) from Sharif University of Technology. Currently, I’m a Postdoctoral researcher at Stanford Univeristy Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab.     




Selected Publications

During my PhD studies, I worked on two classes of robotic locomotion challenges: (i) model-based control and optimization methods for legged robots and (ii) model-free control and optimization methods for modular robots. You can read about them in the following peer-reviewed articles. 

Legged Robots: Model-based Control and Optimization 

S. Pouya, M. Khodabakhsh, A. Spröwitz, A Ijspeert, “Spinal Joint Compliance and Actuation in a Simulated Bounding Quadruped Robot, Autonomous Robots, 1-16, 2016

– S. Faraji, S. Pouya, A. Ijspeert, “Robust and Agile 3D Biped Walking with Steering Capability using a Footstep Predictive Approach“, Robotics: Science and Systems, 2014

– S. FarajiS. PouyaC. G. Atkeson and A. J. Ijspeert, “Versatile and Robust 3D Walking with a Simulated Humanoid Robot (Atlas): A Model Predictive Control Approach“, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2014

 S. Pouya, P. Eckert, A. Sproewitz, R. Möckel and A. Ijspeert, “Motor Control Adaptation to Changes in Robot Body Dynamics for a Complaint Quadruped Robot“, International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (Living Machines), 2013

– S. Faraji, S. Pouya, R. Moeckel and A. J. Ijspeert, “Compliant and adaptive control of a planar monopod hopper in rough terrain“, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013.

– M. Ajallooeian, S. Pouya, A. Sproewitz and A, Ijspeert, “Central Pattern Generators Augmented with Virtual Model Control for Quadruped Rough Terrain Locomotion“, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2013

– S. Pouya, M. Ajallooeian and A. Ijspeert, “A Closed-Loop Optimal Control Approach for Online Control of A Planar Monopod Hopper“, Climbing and Walking Robots Conference (CLAWAR), 2012

S. Pouya, R. Möckel, F. Peuker, A. Seyfarth and A. Ijspeert, “Stability Augmentation of SLIP-like Legged Locomotion Exploiting Hip Actuation“, Climbing and Walking Robots Conference (CLAWAR), 2011 


Modular Robots: Model-free Control and Optimization 

–  S. Pouya, J. van den Kieboom, A. Spröwitz and A. Ijspeert, “Automatic Gait Generation in Modular Robots: to Oscillate or to Rotate? that is the question“. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2010

– A. Spröwitz, S. Pouya, S. Bonardi, J. van den Kieboom and R. Möckel et al. “Roombots: Reconfigurable Robots for Adaptive Furniture“, IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, Special Issue on “Evolutionary and Developmental Approaches to Robotics”, vol. 5, num. 3, p. 20-32, 2010

– S. Pouya, E. Aydin, R. Moeckel and A. J. Ijspeert, “Locomotion Gait Optimization For Modular Robots; Coevolving Morphology and Control”, Procedia Computer Science, Volume 7, 2011, Pages 320–322, Proceeding of European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition (FET), 2011

– K. Larpin, S. Pouya, J. van den Kieboom and A. Ijspeert, “Co-evolution of Morphology and Control of Virtual Legged Robots for the Steering Task“, IEEE International conference on Robotics and Biomimetics (ROBIO), 2011

– J. van den Kieboom, S. Pouya and A. Ijspeert, “Meta Morphic Particle Swarm Optimization“, Nature Inspired Cooperative Strategies for Optimization, Studies in Computational Intelligence, page 231-244, 2013

– S. Bonardi, M. Vespignani, R. Möckel, J. Van den Kieboom and S. Pouya et al. “Automatic Generation of Reduced CPG Control Networks for Locomotion of Arbitrary Modular Robot Structures“, Robotics: Science and Systems, 2014


Conference Abstracts

S. Pouya, A. Seth, J. Hicks, S. Delp, “Predicting the effects of limb loading on the metabolic cost of human walking“, Workshop on Bridging Gaps between Computational Biomechanics and Robotics: Theory, Tools, and Applications, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2015

S. Pouya, S. Faraji, R. Möckel and A. Ijspeert, “Dynamics Modeling and Control Architecture for Efficient, Manoeuvrable and Robust Monoped Hopping over Rough Terrain“, Dynamic Walking Conference, Pittsburgh, USA, 2013

– M. Ajallooeian, S. Pouya, S. Gay, A. Tuleu and A. Sprowitz et al. “Towards Modular Control for Moderately Fast Locomotion over Unperceived Rough Terrain“, Dynamic Walking Conference, Pittsburgh, USA, 2013

S. Pouya, M. Khodabakhsh, R. Möckel and A. Ijspeert, “Role of Spine Compliance and Actuation in the Bounding Performance of Quadruped Robots“, Dynamic Walking Conference, Florida, USA, 2012

– F. Peuker, S. Grimmer, S. Pouya, R. Möckel and A. Ijspeert, A. Syfarth, “Anchoring the SLIP template: The effect of leg mass on running stability” The 5th International Symposium on Adaptive Motion of Animals and Machines (AMAM), Hyogo, Japan, 2011


For more see my Google Scholar Page


Student Project Co-Mentorship


Research Projects

During my stay at Biorob I worked on two main research projects:


Locomorph was a European project funded by Future and Emerging Technologies program. Its main objective was to (i) implement adaptive sensory-motor control and learning strategies which take advantage of the robots’ natural physical dynamics, (ii) to develop strategies for dealing with voluntary and involuntary morphosis and (iii) to develop theoretical understanding on how morphology can ease control and learning. For more details on Locomorph project see our Locomorph page.

Within the Locomorph project we collaborated with four other European unviersities:

  • University of Zurich, with experts in robot design and embodied inteligence.
  • Locomotion Lab, at Technische Universitat Darmstadt, Germany, with experts in Biomechanics.
  • Laboratory for Functional Morphology, at Unviersity of Antwrep, Belgium, with experts in Functional Morphology.
  • Modular Robotics lab, at Universyity of Southern Denmark, with expert in Modular Robotics.

See more at Locomorph Project Page


Roombots project was funded by the Microsoft Research Cambridge and EPFL. For this project, I worked on developing an optimization-control framework for generating locomotion controller.

See more at Roombots Project Page