I.Q. Spotlight: Professor Taskin Padir
One of the new faces in the ECE faculty has made a long journey to end up at Northeastern. He has hit the ground running and has immediately had an impact at the university.
Taskin Padir joined NU in the fall of 2015 as a key player in a shift to robotics ECE is in the midst of making.
“I’ve had my hands dirty with robots, one way or another, for quite some time now,” Padir said.
From the first project he worked on, an automated excavator, to his more recent ventures, including an award form NASA’s space program to advance the capabilities of their R5 Valkyrie humanoid robot, Taskin Padir approaches his work with an enthusiasm you would expect form a person on the cutting edge of an ever evolving field.
He attended school at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey before coming to the U.S. to complete his graduate studies at Purdue University. Padir said his passion for robotics started at Purdue when a professor influenced his focus.
“Believe it or not at that point, robotics was not really hot. The motivator for me was one mentor that I had when I was in college. It’s very cliché I think but it was him, that one professor who said, ‘New things are happening, let’s start working,'” Padir reminisced.
While he may specialize in robots, Padir firmly believes his research does not just advance the field of robotics, it also advances humanity.
“My overall goal that I try to communicant to every student that joins my lab, and they come from high school to graduate school, our goal is to help people with robots. Using robots we try to enhance human performance. We also believe we can empower humans using robotics technologies,” said Padir.
His work stands on its own when it comes to speaking truth to his mantra of empowering people. Professor Padir, along with funding from the National Science Foundation, has worked on large global issues like Ebola outbreaks with Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) for Advanced Response to Epidemics. This work develops a medical CPS and its operational procedures to respond to current and future Ebola outbreaks, or other infectious disease episodes, using robotics. It’s this type of powerful work that has lead Professor Padir to speak at the White House on four separate occasions.
Taskin Padir came to Northeastern full of energy and ready to take part of something new and invigorating.
“It’s exciting to spearhead — with a lot of collaborators including new and existing faculty — to spearhead a new robotics research and education program right in Boston. I think there’s a great opportunity to have a strong robotics program right in the heart of Boston,” he said. “Northeastern is on a rapid growth trajectory, that momentum matches my momentum.”