Isabel Qamar

Material Scientist // Human-Computer interaction engineer

isabel qamar

I am EPSRC postdoctoral research fellow in Human Computer Interaction at the University of Bristol, UK and am currently on a secondment in the HCI Engineering Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). My research aims to create synergy between the fields of Material Science and Computer Science, with a particular focus on fabrication and shape-change. I have a background in Aerospace Engineering and undertook my PhD within the Advanced Composites Collaboration for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) at Bristol developing 3D printed vascular networks for self-healing polymeric materials. I'm an avid CrossFitter, certified Rescue Scuba Diver (Divemaster in training) and enjoy playing the guitar and piano in my spare time. I also like the odd bit of travelling and photo-taking.


Curriculum Vitae [pdf]



shoe as a field (New balance)

January 2019 - February 2019

This project aimed at re-formulating shoe as a “field” as opposed to an “object” by generating a variety of out-of-the-ordinary design concepts. Data-driven generative design models (created in Rhino/Grasshopper) were used to explore shoes that come to life as wholes. Data collected at New Balance’s Sports Research Lab was used to expand the design concepts that developed upon performative, aesthetic and manufacturability considerations. This design focused on varying the shape of 3D auxetic cells with pressure and strain across the shoe for 3D printing.


colour-changing materials for 3d printing and textiles

November 2018 - Present

Development of a method for changing the colour of a 3D-printed object even after fabrication through printing different photochromic inks in a dense multi-colour voxel pattern across an object’s surface. By using photochromic materials that can switch their appearance from transparent to colored when exposed to light of a certain wavelength, the colour of existing objects can be changed without the need to re-fabricate it. The colour remains even when the object is removed from under the light source. This process is fully reversible, thus allowing users to recolour the object as many times as they want. Furthermore, we can recolour the object with multi-colour changes (e.g. red-to-yellow) by selectively turning specific colour voxels on and off.

Project details :

shape-changing materials for interaction design

December 2016 - Present

Implementing outputs from material science, specifically morphing materials and structures, into computer science. I investigate the use of elastomers, auxetics, deployable structures (i.e. foldable, rollable and inflatable), anisotropy, multi-stability and shape-memory materials used in engineering fields such as aerospace, and introduce these into Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) for the development of shape-changing devices.


Nature Paper (2019)

CHI 2018 Paper


self-healing materials

December 2011 - April 2017

PhD in self-healing materials within the Multifunctional Materials and Technologies group at the Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). This included a one year taught course in advanced composite materials at MRes level. The main challenge of my research was to design and fabricate a porous hollow thermoplastic fibre network (thermoplastic polyurethane), though additive manufacture/3D printing, with the long term potential for repeated self-healing of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. I utilised both stereolithography and fused deposition modelling techniques to fabricate networks that were inserted into prepreg and short-fibre composites. A fracture mechanics and indentation analyses were undertaken to determine the healing efficiency of the system.

recycling of high-performance discontinuous carbon fibres

April 2016 - October 2016

The HiPerDiF (High Performance Discontinuous Fibres) manufacturing method, developed at the University of Bristol, is a new high speed process to produce discontinuous fibre architectures with high volume fraction. In this project I investigated the application of this process for Quality Control of reclaimed carbon fibres in recycled composite materials and its potential for producing pellets for thermoplastic injection moulding/3D printing. This is an industrial collaboration and is part of the High Performance Ductile Composite Technology (HiPerDuCT) programme.


bio-inspired body armour

October 2010 - May 2011

I carried out a numerical study aimed at incorporating the advantageous properties of a biological ceramic, nacre, into body armour, in order to improve the mechanical performance. Ballistic impact was simulated through the creation of a finite element model in LS Dyna, allowing the influence of structural geometry of the platelets and resin interface on performance (residual velocity of the projectile) to be investigated.


Rotor design for a long-range oilrig transport helicopter (agustawestland)

September 2009 - March 2010

With the current shortage of hydrocarbon oil and gas supplies, the need for a long range oilrig support helicopter, with the ability to operate in a search and rescue role in emergencies, has been identified. The aim of this project was to design a helicopter fitting these specifications with an expected entry-into-service date of 2020. I focused on the design of the main and tail rotors (length, aspect ratio, tip shape, blade twist) including an analysis of the lift and drag coefficients, Mach numbers and flap frequencies. I then undertook a three-month placement at AgustaWestalnd in Yeovil, UK writing Perl scripts to output flap frequencies and loads from experimental data and carried out optimisation studies based on this information for rotor design.


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  • Adobe: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop

  • Rhino/Grasshopper, Autodesk Inventor

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  • FEA: Abaqus, LS-DYNA, MSC Patran/Nastran

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  • Programming/Scripting: Perl, Python

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Composite Materials
3D Printing
Polymer chemistry
Sports research
Smart materials and structures




bristol composites institute, university of bristol, uk

Graduated September 2017


University of Bristol, UK

Graduated June 2011


Honourable Mention Award at CHI 2018
EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship 2017
University of Bristol ACCIS DTC International Placement 2014
ICSHM 2013 Young Scientist Travel Award
Bristol PGR PLUS Award 2013
Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award 2013


2017-2018 HCI Undergraduate Seminar Series (Fabrication)
2015-2016 Design and Manufacture (Mech Eng)
2014-2016 Design and Computing (Aero Eng)
2012-2013 Aero Eng Masters Research Projects Mentor

organising committees

Late Breaking Work Program Committee Member, CHI 2019
Session chair for 'Crafting & Fabrication', CHI 2018
Co-organiser Bristol workshop on 'Interactive Metamaterials', 2018
Co-organiser & session chair for 'Additive Manufacture', SMASIS 2017


Address: 32 Vassar st., 32-211,