H. Atakan Varol, PhD

Department: Robotics and Mechatronics
Position: Chair and Professor
Office: 7.240
Email: ahvarol@nu.edu.kz
Phone: +7 (7172) 706561



2009 – PhD, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
2007 – MSc, Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
2005 – BSc, Mechatronics Engineering, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey




Dr. Varol is the department chair and associate professor of robotics at Nazarbayev University’s School of Science and Technology. He received his BS degree in mechatronics engineering from Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey, in 2005. He received the MS and PhD degrees both in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA, in 2007 and 2009, respectively. From August 2009 to August 2011, he was first a postdoctoral research associate and then a research assistant professor with the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

In 2011, he joined the faculty of Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, as a founding associate professor of robotics, where he currently chairs the department and directs the Advanced Robotics and Mechatronics Systems (ARMS) Laboratory. His research interests include design and control of biomechatronic systems, variable impedance actuation, machine learning, and embedded systems. He has published more than 50 technical papers on related topics in reputable international journals and conferences. He holds multiple international patents in the area of bionics. He has attracted multiple competitively-funded research grants from Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan, World Bank and Nazarbayev University Research Fund.

Dr. Varol was a finalist for the KUKA Innovation Award in 2014. He was also the recipient of the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics Best Paper Award in 2009 and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Outstanding Paper Award in 2013. Dr. Varol, a senior member of IEEE, is a technical editor of IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics and serves as a reviewer for various journals, conferences and funding agencies.

More on Dr. Varol’s current research activities can be found at ARMS website (arms.nu.edu.kz). His publication record is available in Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=NYdtGTwAAAAJ




Biomechatronics, Variable Impedance Actuation, Machine Learning, Embedded Systems, Tensegrity



  1. Y. Massalin, M. Abdrakhmanova and H.A. Varol, “User-Independent Intent Recognition for Lower-Limb Prostheses Using Depth Sensing,” IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 2017.
  2. A. Zhakatayev, M. Rubagotti and H.A. Varol, “Time Optimal Control of Variable Stiffness Actuated Robots”, IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 22, pp. 1247-1258, 2017.
  3. A. Baimshyev, A. Zhakatayev and H.A. Varol, “Augmenting Variable Stiffness Actuation Using Reaction Wheels,” IEEE Access, vol. 4, pp. 4618-4628, 2016.
  4. A. Saudabayev and H.A. Varol, “Sensors for Robotic Hands: A Survey of State-of-the-Art,” IEEE Access, vol. 3, pp. 1765-1782, 2015.
  5. A. Saudabayev, F. Kungozhin, D. Nurseitov, H.A. Varol, “Locomotion Strategy Selection for a Hybrid Mobile Robot using Time of Flight Depth Sensor,” Journal of Sensors, 2015.
  6. A. Zhakatayev, M. Rubagotti and H.A. Varol, “Closed-Loop Control of Variable Stiffness Actuated Robots via Nonlinear Model Predictive Control”, IEEE Access, vol. 3, pp. 235-248, 2015.