Joseph K. Hitt, PhD, Executive Director, Wearable Robotics Association
Dr. Hitt is recognized nationally as an expert in wearable robotic technologies and human systems participating on multiple government, private and academic panels and boards such as the Board on Army Science and Technology, the Army Basic Science Review Panel, Wearable Robotics International Workshop, and invited to be the plenary speaker at numerous conferences such as the ones held by the National Robotics Initiative, the National Defense Industrial Association, Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Harvard University Smart Clothes Symposium, and ExxonMobil Wearable Technology Workshop. After serving as the director for both the Aerospace Systems and Thermodynamics Group and the Mechanical Engineering Research Center at the United States Military Academy, Dr. Hitt was invited to become a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, Dr. Hitt led multiple advanced technology programs in partnership with 15 industry prime contractors, 10 subcontractors, and 10 world-class academic institutions and managed a robotics-centric program portfolio worth over $300 Million. Dr. Hitt currently serves as the CEO of GO XTUDIO, LLC, a product development company focused on wearable and robotic technologies that enhance health, performance, and quality of life. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University and his B.S. in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Floersheim is currently the CEO of FITT Scientific, a company he co-founded and has led since retiring from the US Army in 2014. Since its inception, he has led the company to become one of the fastest growing companies in the USA, debuting at #27 on the Inc 500 list in 2019 and hitting that same list at #191 in 2020. It was also recognized as the #1 fastest growing veteran-owned company in 2020. FITT Scientific has employees in 7 states supporting DoD and DHS clients. He is also the COO of GoX Labs, a SaaS (Software as a Service) company focused on wearable and robotic technologies that enhance health, performance, and quality of life. Before entering industry, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Floersheim served for over 25 years in the US Army successfully leading and managing in organizations of increasing complexity and responsibility as an officer in the United States and during five years overseas. He obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2008 from Old Dominion University, his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1989.
Dr. Jayaraman is the Director of the Max Näder Center for Rehabilitation Technologies & Outcomes Research, Executive Director of the Technology & Innovation Hub (tiHUB), and a Research Scientist at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences, and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. His research interests focus on developing and executing both industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated research in rehab robotics, prosthetics, orthotics, and other assistive and adaptive technologies to treat physical disability. He specifically focuses on using quantitative outcome measures (example wearable sensors, smart phones, biomarkers etc.) to improve the real-world use of rehabilitation technology. Dr. Jayaraman’s work is currently funded by NIH, DOD, NIDILRR, NSF, Industry, and private foundations. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Medicine from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL and his M.S. in Physical Therapy from Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.
Thomas Sugar, PE, PhD, Director of Science & Technology, Wearable Robotics Association
Dr. Sugar is a Professor in the Polytechnic School, part of the Ira. A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He started the Human Machine Integration Laboratory in 1999. He is currently developing wearable leg exoskeletons that assist a person to walk and run. These systems seamlessly transition between walking and running. The lab projects have involved the development of advanced compliant actuator concepts, cutting-edge prosthetics for amputees and energy harvesting from a walking foot-soldier. Dr. Sugar received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Philip Sugar, Director of Strategy, Wearable Robotics Association
Phil Sugar has served in leadership positions at multiple businesses and organizations, with extensive start up and management experience at a variety of software companies. As the CFO for EnviroMetrics Software, Phil developed and implemented a sales and marketing strategy that doubled and tripled revenue in 1994 and 1995. Later, as COO of Essential Technologies, he was in charge of developing the strategic business and financing plan which included seeking out venture capital. After serving on the Board of Directors for Return Central, Inc., Phil moved on to be named the CEO of Smart Button Associates, Inc. During his tenure there, he was instrumental in growing the customer loyalty software company to have over 50 clients in the hotel and hospitality industry. Phil is currently the President of SpringActive Corporation which he helped found and currently oversees all its business activities. He received his BAS in Systems Engineering from the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania and his BSEcon in Entrepreneurial Management from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania.