Meet This Year’s ROP Students!

This year at the lab we have 3 students undergoing the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) at the Continuum Robotics Laboratory.

The following are those students!


Sani is a 4th-year student at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus (UTM). She is pursuing a Computer Science specialist and Mathematics minor.

In her 3rd year at UTM, Sani took a course instructed by Dr. Burgner-Kahrs and was exposed to the concept of continuum robotics for the first time. Prior to this, Sani was not considering working in robotics at all, but this field fascinated her as it was a refreshing departure from her usual Computer Science course work. This led to her increased fascination in the subject and in the following year she pursued a research opportunity at this lab.

In her studies here, she will be assisting in the development of the first simulation environment for tendon actuated parallel continuum robots. This research will be used to investigate the different structural variations that these robots can be constructed in and how they might respond in different situations.

So far, her experience at the lab has pushed the boundaries of what she thought she could achieve in robotics and computing. At times making her look back and ask herself: “Did I really do all this?”

After completing her degree, she looks to gain experience in industry and intends to further pursue her studies in the field.

In her free time, she enjoys reading up on different developments in the world of robotics such as those from the MIT robotics lab and Boston Dynamics. She also loves to spend time with her family especially her sister… Rida.


Rida is also in her 4th year at UTM, studying as a Computer Science specialist with a Mathematics minor.

Similar to her sister, her introduction to this field came after she attended a course instructed by Dr. Burgner-Kahrs. For Rida, the big draw towards continuum robotics was the fact that this field is in its budding phases and that there is a wide range of possibilities of what she can potentially discover. 

Her research for this ROP is centered around the development of an optimization framework to determine the best parameters of tubular continuum robots for any particular objective. As part of this project, she is working on the further development of simulation software for tendon actuated continuum robots (TCRs).

After completing her undergraduate degree, she intends to pursue her academics as well as gain experience in industry. She also intends to explore and create more opportunities for herself inside and outside the world of robotics.

When not hard at work, she enjoys watching movies, reading fiction books, and family. Her parents are doctors and she enjoys teasing them on the fact that with her work in robotics she might just end up making the machine that replaces their jobs one day.


Rounding up our roster of ROP students is the 4th year Computer Science Specialist: Artem.

This year will be their first at the lab. In fact, they had only recently learned about the CRL from one of their professors who recommended the ROP to them. During their time at the lab, they will be focusing on creating virtual models of the narrow environments that a continuum robot will explore, such as, the inside of an airplane turbine. Through working on a personal project that they had undertaken in the past, Artem has gained experience working with computer vision. This is an experience that will prove vital to their current research.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they have not been able to visit the lab. Instead, they have been reading up on continuum robotics and seeking advice from their supervisor Dr.Burgner-Kahrs and mentor Ph.D. candidate Sven Lilge.

These people are a massive part of what makes this ROP enjoyable for Artem. Their favorite thing about working at the CRL is maintaining consistent contact with people who are extremely knowledgeable about robotics and can help them understand the field further.

Currently, Artem is considering all of their options after graduation. Even after a short time here at the CRL, they now think that a job in robotics could be something that they would like to pursue.

One of their favorite ways to spend their free time is playing the tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons.

We're looking forward to the great things that these students achieve at the lab!