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Ed Habtour

Faculty Photo

Assistant Professor
Aeronautics & Astronautics

Pronouns: he/him


Ed Habtour is an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics. Ed is the founder of The illimited Lab at the University of Washington. His research focuses on studying innate nonlinear interactions observed in fractals and segmented structures seen in nature. The overarching goal is to engineer nature-inspired structures with distributive control and novel dynamics for applications in aerospace, robotics, energy, and medicine. He held technical positions at Swales Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, US Army Materiel System Activity Analysis, US Army Research Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. He was a visiting scientist at Universiteit Twente, and The Netherlands Defence Academy. Ed is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, Diagnostics & Prognostics, and has served on many international committees and panels. He received several awards for his technical accomplishments, including the US Dept. of the Army Commander’s Medal and Achievement Award, Science Award, and IEEE Evans/P.K. McElroy Award.


  • Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, 2015
  • M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, 2014
  • M.E. Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2006
  • M.S. Computational Engineering, Purdue University, 2011
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Utah State University, 2004

Research Statement

The goal of The illimited LAB  is to uncover the physical laws and mathematical principles that govern the innate dynamic functions of living structures. Drawing inspiration from the actuation mechanisms and material architectures seen in musculoskeletal systems, we are seeking to mimic biological functions to provide insights into their complex yet elegant and efficient dynamics. These insights help us establish new scientific and engineering foundations for creating living structures that go beyond the typical design objectives such as strength, stiffness, and low mass, towards a new class of sentient structures capable of dynamic functions, such as actuation, sensing, thinking, self-healing, and adaptation.

Current projects

Aerial-Aquatic Robot Transformers

Emulating the Dynamics of Snakes

Advanced Manufacturing of Thermoplastic Aerospace Structures: Simulation and Optimization of Induction Tooling

Select publications

  1. Montoya, A. et al. (2022). Detecting Hidden Transient Events in Noisy Nonlinear Time-series. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 32 (7), 073131.
  2. Habtour, Ed, et al. (2022). Highly Sensitive Nonlinear Identification to Track Early Fatigue Signs in Flexible Structures. Journal of Nondestructive Evaluation, Diagnostics and Prognostics of Engineering Systems 5.2.
  3. Montoya, A. et al. (2020). Quantifying Information without Entropy: Identifying Intermittent Disturbances in Dynamical Systems. Entropy, 22(11), 1199.
  4. Habtour, E. et al. (2019). Structural state awareness through integration of global dynamic and local material behavior. Journal of intelligent material systems and structures, 30(9), 1355-1365.
  5. Peele, B., et al. (2019). Untethered stretchable displays for tactile interaction. Soft robotics, 6(1), 142-149.
  6. Haghiashtiani, G. et al. (2018). 3D printed electrically-driven soft actuators. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 21, 1-8.
  7. Habtour, E. et al. (2018). Connecting nonlinearities: Damage precursors detection and control methodology. In 28th Int. Conference on Noise & Vibration Engineering, ISMA 2018 (pp. 3597-3605). KU Leuven.
  8. Habtour, E. et al. (2018). Phase influence of combined rotational and transverse vibrations on the structural response. Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 100, 371-383.
  9. Aliev, A. E. et al. (2017). Subwoofer and nanotube butterfly acoustic flame extinction. Journal of physics D: applied physics, 50(29).

Honors & awards

  • Department of the Army Engineers-Scientist Exchange Program, 2017-2018
  • Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Civilian Service Medal, 2017
  • US Army Research Laboratory Vehicle Tech Directorate Science Award, 2016
  • Department of the Army Achievement Award, 2015
  • Department of the Army Achievement Award, 2014