Alan Burden

Alan Burden


Due to his interest in using digital tools, and his previous experience within the design industry, Alan is currently undertaking his PhD in the QUT Design Robotics lab. He believes that industrial robotics is the next frontier for many industries, and wants to be a part of these future industries.

In a previous life, Alan has also worked as a histology scientist, an architect, and as a designer in creating digital content.


Industry partner


Research organisation
Queensland University of Technology


Academic Mentor
Glenda Cadwell

Project description

The Design Robotics project is a collaboration between Urban Art Projects, QUT and RMIT. QUT’s contribution to the project focusses on using industrial robots and supporting technologies to polish foundry-cast artwork. The many stages of polishing the foundry pieces usually consists of many hours of intensive skilled human labour. The goal of this project is to assist the human operators by reducing the time and cost of this process and enhance UAP’s ability to manufacture high value products.

Alan’s role within the project is divided between designing robotic end-effectors, programming robot actions and toolpaths, and collaborating with mechatronics engineers and designers to complete smaller tasks.


What do you like most about the research?

I enjoy the diverse challenges within this project – like multiple pieces of a puzzle leading to a larger solution. Every positive outcome is preceded by a variety of ‘less-successful’ experimentations, and this process is sometimes originated from quite innovative ideas and surprising solutions….


How do you feel about an industry-led research project?

It’s a great idea. I have worked in both commercial companies in a variety of industries and also within a university – I believe that industry-led projects are an excellent way of creating robust, applicable research knowledge and practical commercially viable outcomes….


  1. Belek Fialho Teixeira, Muge, Fialho Teixeira, Frederico, Donovan, Jared, Caldwell, Glenda Amayo, & Burden, Alan (2019) RoboBlox. 
  2. Teixeira, Müge Belek Fialho, Teixeira, Frederico Fialho, Donovan, Jared, Caldwell, Glenda Amayo, Burden, Alan, & Wagdy, Ayman (2018) Robotic morphologies.