This Facebook profile captured my attention due its frequent postings about robotics. The apparent owner is Mr. İsmail Hakkı Bafralı. I don’t know who this person is or even a real person.

His most recent posting (26 March 2019) was a “diploma” – the picture of a document supposedly given to him by MIT which had several significant errors in it:

  • The capitalized word RECOMMENDATION had a dotted I (İ) that does not exist in English
  • Similarly, dotted I’s in 4 other places in the document.
  • SCIENCES is misspelled as SCIENSES
  • It contains a strange statement “Doctor Oder Professor”; “oder” means other in German and the statement is meaningless (or it is a misspell)
  • The “diploma” is dated as March 26, 2019, but it is supposedly signed by MIT President Susan Hockfield. However, she stepped down in 2012. The current President of MIT is L. Rafael Reif since July 2, 2012.
  • Obviously, this is a forged document.

Another posting claims an Award given to hom at the ASME 39th Mechanism and Robotics Conference. This was posted in February 26, 2019, as if it is a new award.

However, the ASME 39th Mechanism and Robotics Conference was held in 2015.

Also, there is mention of the name “Bafrali” or “Bafralı” in the Conference proceedings:

On February 22, 2019, Mr. Bafralı posted a robot picture, being worked on an experiment station, seemingly in a lab space. He calls it “Our first robot anthropomorphic (human) roboy”, I am interpreting this as he is developing the robot:

However, this is a robot developed by Boston Dynamics Company. See 1:35 in YouTube page Darpa PetMan Robothttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S4ZPvr6ry4

In a February 19 posting, Mr. Bafralı claims he is working on another robot.

But this is the well-known MIT Hermes robot: https://biomimetics.mit.edu/research/mit-hermes-project

Mr. Bafralı is definitely not one of the developers of the Hermes Robot at MIT. All former and current members of the MIT Biomimetic Robotics Lab are here: https://biomimetics.mit.edu/people

In yet another posting, he claims to have received the Best Paper Award in IEEE RCAR 2019 (2019 IEEE International Conference on Real-time Computing and Robotics) held in March 20-21, 2019 in Okinawa, Japan.

However, IEEE RCAR 2019 is to be held in the future: in August 4-9, 2019, in Irkutsk, Russia:http://www.ieee-rcar.org/

But, IEEE RCAR 2017 was held in July 14-18, 2017 in Okinawa, Japan. Furthermore, a paper with the above title (that he claims to have won the Best Paper Award) exists in RCAR 2017: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8311827 ==>> Real-time curvature estimation of printable soft gripper using electro-conductive yarnt. But the authors of this paper are Takahiro Matsuno, Zhongkui Wang and Shinichi Hirai.

In summary: He takes a paper title from RCAR 2017 proceedings that has 3 Japanese authors, and photoshops a Best Paper Award certificate from RCAR 2019 with his name on it!!

In another but more disturbing posting in March 9, 2019, Mr. Bafralı claims he is in the Turkish Presidential Compound signing a project about “developing robot soldiers”

However, this is just a stock photo used many different sites:

I certainly hope, Turkish Government does not take this person seriously.

Mr. Bafralı also posted that he was thanked by a well-known private Turkish university to have given a seminar on “Robotik Bilim Projeleri ve Akıllı Robot Yazılımının Geliştirilmesi” (The English title “Robotic Science Projects and Developing Smart Robot Software” is rather incongruous)

This is also a fake document. I could not find any records of this conference series in 2019. There were a few seminars in 2018. I asked a professor at the mentioned University and was told this conference series was not yet held in 2019.Indeed the document seems photoshopped; notice the fonts in the left and right pictures.

Mr. İsmail Hakkı Bafralı has no Google Scholar records of any conference or journal articles at all since 2015:

I wonder what we are dealing with here. Mr. Bafralı is putting a lot of efforts to generate forged documents, forged diplomas, and photoshopped pictures. I wonder if he is really benefiting from these efforts somehow.

Is he a scientific fraudster or a just pathological liar?
I am leaning to the latter.

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About the author

Çetin Koç

Çetin Koç

Çetin Kaya Koç received his Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from University of California Santa Barbara in 1988. His research interests are in electronic voting, cyber-physical security, cryptographic engineering, finite field arithmetic, random number generators, and neuromorphic engineering.

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