Flexible Structures Laboratory &
Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory
Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL)
+41 78 835 07 23


Date of birth: 31.12.1987
Nationality: Canadian
Website: timchen.ca


2018 Doctor of Sciences (ETH medal), Mechanical Engineering
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2014 Master of Science (Cum Laude), Civil Engineering
Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
2010 Bachelor of Applied Science, Engineering Science
University of Toronto, ON, Canada


Since Jan. 2019 Post Doctoral Researcher
Flexible Structures Laboratory &
Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory

EPFL, Switzerland
Jun. - Sept. 2017 Visiting Researcher
Daraio Research Group, California Institute of Technology, USA
2014 - 2018 Graduate Researcher
Engineering Design and Computing Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2013 - 2014 Junior Structural Engineer
Arup, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
2010 - 2012 Junior Structural Designer
Morrison Hershfield, Toronto, ON, Canada


Journal and Conference Reviewing

Extreme Mechanics Letters, Journal of Applied Mechanics, Scientific Reports, International Journal of Advanced Design and Manufacturing Technology, Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Journal of Mechanical Design, International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium

Grants and fundings

2018SNSF Post-Doc mobility fellowship, "Exploring Mechanical Instability for Assistive Exoskeletal Devices".

Invited talks

2019Green Tech Innovators Club, TU Graz, Austria
2019Global Young Scientists Summit, NTU, Singapore
2018Visual Computing Seminar, EPFL, Switzerland
2017SIGCHI Computational Fabrication and Smart Matter, MIT, USA

Academic Honours

2018 ETH Medal for outstanding doctoral thesis, ETH Zurich
2014 Cum Laude (graduating top 5%), Delft University of Technology
2010 Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, University of Toronto
2010 Spirit of Engsci Award, Engineering Science, University of Toronto
2010 Engineering Society Award, Engineering Society, University of Toronto


Master Theses
  1. Schnaubelt, M., (2020), "Computational design of bistable deployable surfaces".
    In progress
  2. Koh, M., (2018), "Designing Activated Buckling Structures Using FDM 3D Printing".
    Current Position: Research assistant at Gramazio Kohler Research, ETHZ.
  3. Du Pasquier, C., (2017), "Modular Pneumatic Toolkit: an Application of 4D-Printing".
    Current Position: Doctoral candidate at EDAC, ETHZ.
  4. Wagner, M., (2016), "Design of 3D Printed Active Stuctures Using Shape Memory Polymers".
    Current Position: Doctoral candidate at Laboratory of Nanometallurgy, ETHZ.
  5. Liu, J., (2016), "Mechanical Properties of Multi-Material Structures Fabricated with Inkjet 3D Printing".
    Current Position: Omron Automotive Technologies, Inc., Toronto, ON., Canada.
  6. Zimmermann, L., (2015), "Generative Design through the Combination of 3D Shape Grammar and Simulation".
    Graduated Dr. Sc. from ETH Zurich
Other Projects
  1. Gautier, A., (2020), "Experimental testing of non-linear periodic microstructures".
  2. Ebrahimi, R., (2019), "Experimental magnetically actuated shells".
  3. Ulrich, L., (2018), "Effect of Poisson's Ratio on Energy trapping Meta-material".
  4. Volk, C., (2018), "Magnetically Controlled Reversible Appendage".
  5. Mueller, M., (2018), "Passively Actuated Photovoltaic Array".
  6. Freitag, J., (2017), "Synthesis of a Reversible SMP for Stereolithography".
  7. Fritzsche, D., (2017), "Shape Transforming Polymer Sheets".
  8. Sesseg, J., (2017), "Synthesis of Light Activated SLA Resin".
  9. Felber, R., (2017), "Light Controlled 3D Printed Rotating Platform".
  10. Koh, M., (2016), "Design and Analysis of 3D Printed Bistable Structures".


2019 Slender structures, STI, EPFL
2019 Engineering design challenge, STI, EPFL
2015 - 2018 Engineering Design Optimization, D-MAVT, ETH Zurich
2014 - 2015 CAD and Technical Drawing, D-MAVT, ETH Zurich
2010 Structures and Materials, Engineering Science, University of Toronto
2009 Praxis II, Engineering Science, University of Toronto


2019Focus: Folded Solar Panel Opens Without Power Source, Physics
2019A solar panel that unfolds in sunlight could power spacecraft, New Scientist
2019This solar array expands itself at the right temperature, TechCrunch
2018Self-powered soft robots, CBS News
2018No Motor, No Battery, No Problem, Caltech News
2018Swimming without an engine, ETH Zurich News
20183D printing unlimited: From tooth enamel to 4D printing ETH Zurich Globe
2017Rethinking Intelligence ETH Zurich, World Economic Forum
20174D Printing of Programmable Shape-Changing Structures Mary Ann Liebert
2017Fabrication technology in the fourth dimension ETH Zurich News


Journal Articles
  1. Chen, T., Bilal, R.O., Lang, R., Daraio, C., & Shea, K., (2019),"Autonomous Deployment of a Solar Panel Using an Elastic Origami and Distributed Shape Memory Polymer Actuators", Physical Review Applied, 11 (6), 064069, 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.11.064069
  2. Du Pasquier, C., Chen, T., Tibbits, S., & Shea, K., (2019),"Design and Computational Modeling of a 3D Printed Pneumatic Toolkit for Soft Robotics", Soft Robotics, June, 10.1089/soro.2018.0095
  3. Wagner, M., Lumpe, T., Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2019),"Bend- and Stretch-Dominated Transforming Auxetic Lattice for Energy Absorption", Extreme Mechanics Letters, 29 (100461), 10.1016/j.eml.2019.100461
  4. Chen, T., Bilal, R.O., Shea, K., & Daraio, C. (2018), "Harnessing Bistability for Directional Propulsion of Untethered, Soft Robots", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 115 (22), 5698-5702, doi:10.1073/pnas.1800386115
  5. Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2018), "An Autonomous Programmable Actuator and Shape Reconfigurable Structures using Bistability and Shape Memory Polymers", 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 5(2), 91-101, doi.org/10.1089/3dp.2017.0118
  6. Schwarz, J., Chen, T., Shea, K., & Stankovic, T., (2018), "An Efficient Size and Shape Optimization of Large Scale Truss Structures Subject to Stress and Buckling Constraints", Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 58(1), 171-184, s00158-017-1885-z.
  7. Zimmermann, L., Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2018), "Generalizing the Link between 3D Spatial Grammars and Finite Element Analysis for Structural Engineering Design Automation", Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing, 32(2), 189-199, doi:10.1017/S0890060417000324.
  8. Wagner, M., Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2017), "Large Shape Transforming 4D Auxetic Structures Using a 3D Printed Shape Memory Polymer", 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing, 4(3), 133-142, doi:10.1089/3dp.2017.0027.
  9. Chen, T., Mueller, J., & Shea, K., (2017), "Integrated Design and Simulation of Tunable, Multi-State Structures Fabricated Monolithically with Multi-Material 3D Printing", Scientific Reports, 7, 45671, doi:10.1038/srep45671
Journal Articles in Preparation
  1. Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2018),"Generative design of multi-stable, reconfigurable surfaces", Submitted
  2. Koh, M., Fritzsche, D., Chen, T., Tibbits, S., & Shea, K., (2018),"Shape Reconfiguring Bistable Surfaces Using Heat Activated Fibers", in Preparation
  3. Bilal, R.O., Chen, T., Shea, K., & Daraio, C., (2018), "4D Tunable Poisson's Ratio Phononic Meta-material", in Preparation
Conference Proceedings
  1. Chen, T., Mueller, J., & Shea, K., (2016), "Design and Fabrication of a Bistable Unit Actuator with Multi-Material Additive Manufacturing", SFF 2016, Austin, Texas, USA: University of Texas.
  2. Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2016), "Design and Fabrication of Hierarchical Multi-Stable Structures through Multi-Material Additive Manufacturing", In IDETC, pp. V02AT03A032, Charlotte, NC., doi:10.1115/DETC2016-59856
  3. Zimmermann, L., Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2016), "Generative Shape Design Using 3D Spatial Grammars, Simulation and Optimization". Design Computing and Cognition, pp. 279-297, doi:10.1007/978-94-007-0510-4
  4. Chen, T., & Shea, K., (2015), "Computational Design-To-Fabrication Using Spatial Grammars : Automatically Generating Printable Car Wheel Design Variants", ICED 2015, pp. 1-10, Design Society.
  5. Chen, T., Stoeckli, F., & Shea, K., (2015), "Design for Mass Customization Using Additive Manufacture : Case-Study of a Balloon-Powered Car", ICED 15, 4, 245-254.
  6. Chen, T., Egan, P., Stoeckli, F., & Shea, K., (2015), "Studying the Impact of Incorporating an Additive Manufacturing Based Design Exercise in a Large, First Year Technical Drawing and CAD Course", IDETC, V003T04A015, doi:10.1115/DETC2015-47312