Dr. Krebs has been a Principal Research Scientist and Lecturer at MIT’s Mechanical Engineering Department since 1997. He also holds an affiliate position as an Adjunct Professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, and is a visiting professor at several universities worldwide. He is an IEEE Fellow and was nominated by two IEEE societies: IEEE-EMBS (Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society) and IEEE-RAS (Robotics and Automation Society) to this distinguished engineering status “for contributions to rehabilitation robotics and the understanding of neuro-rehabilitation.” His goal is to revolutionize the way rehabilitation medicine is practiced today by applying robotics and information technology to assist, enhance, and quantify rehabilitation. He was one of the founders, member of the Board of Directors, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Interactive Motion Technologies from 1998 to 2016. He successfully merged it with Bionik Laboratories, a publicly traded company, where he served as its Chief Science Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors until July 2017. He founded 4Motion Robotics in August 2017.
Professor John A. Rogers obtained BA and BS degrees in chemistry and physics from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1989. From MIT, he received SM degrees in physics and in chemistry in 1992 and the Ph.D. degree in physical chemistry in 1995. From 1995 to 1997, Rogers was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard University Society of Fellows. He joined Bell Laboratories as a Member of Technical Staff in the Condensed Matter Physics Research Department in 1997, and served as Director of this department from 2000 through 2002. He then spent 13 years on the faculty at University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, most recently as the Swanlund Chair Professor, the highest chaired position at the university, where he also served as Director of the Seitz Materials Research Laboratory. In 2016, he joined Northwestern University as the Louis Simpson and Kimberly Querrey Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Neurological Surgery, with courtesy appointments in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Chemistry. He is also the founding Director of the newly endowed Center on Bio-Integrated Electronics. Dr. Rogers has published nearly 600 papers and is an inventor on over 100 patents and patent applications. His research has been recognized with many awards including the Lemelson-MIT Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship and the Smithsonian Award for American Ingenuity in the Physical Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors.
Benjamin Wolff serves as the Chairman and CEO of leading global robotics company, Sarcos Robotics. In this role, he oversees the strategic direction of the company and engages with the company’s partners, customers and investors. Prior to joining Sarcos, Wolff served as CEO, President and Chairman at Pendrell Corporation from 2009 to 2014. In 2003, Wolff co-founded Clearwire Corporation, where he served as President, CEO and Co-Chairman. Clearwire was sold to Sprint in 2013 for more than $14 billion. He also previously served on the board of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), and is currently a member of the Board of Visitors of Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Wolff earned his law degree from Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 1994, and his Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University in 1991.
Breakout Session Speakers
Alan Asbeck is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Assistive Robotics Lab at Virginia Tech. Previously, he was a Research Scientist at Harvard and the Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering, where he developed soft, textile-based exosuits to assist the body during walking. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and received an MEng and Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a second Bachelor’s in Physics, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Asbeck’s research centers on building human-assistance devices and on understanding how to make them work most effectively with the body. His goals are to help people to regain capabilities they have lost, enable people to perform feats that were not previously possible, and to help people avoid future injuries.
Global business unit head; Frank Bömers is leading International Product Management, strategic business development and portfolio Management for Orthotics. He is also responsible for the consumer brand Rehband, Stockholm. Currently Frank leads different initiatives to implement digital transformation in traditional business concepts. Before joining Otto Bock Healthcare in July 2014 Frank was holding different positions with DJO Global as VP Marketing; VP Sales and from 2011 as Managing Director for the DACH region.
Jonas Bornmann joined Otto Bock as a research engineer and has been working on exoskeletons, activity monitoring and wearable motion capturing since then. In several international research projects he is also responsible as a technical project manager for Otto Bock. He combines his expertise in exoskeletons and activity monitoring with occupational ergonomics to develop systems that reduce the musculoskeletal stress and improve the ergonomics in the context of manual assembly work. He received an MSc in Medical Technologies from the Berlin University of Technology (Technische Universit at Berlin), Germany.
Terry is a Certified Safety Professional and holds degrees in Safety Engineering and Industrial Technology, along with an Associate Arts degree in Business and Industrial Psychology. He has 34 years’ experience in manufacturing and is President of Lean Steps Consulting Inc. Working with Iowa State University, John Deere, Vermeer and Toyota, Terry has been focusing his time over the last three and a half years documenting upper body exoskeleton performance, care, limitations and use to protect workers. He has authored several articles on the subject and presented his findings at several major conferences.
Dr. Simona Crea received her PhD in Biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in December 2015. She is currently an Assistant Professor at The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, where she co-leads the Wearable Robotics laboratory.Her research activities are focused on developing and validating novel wearable technologies and paradigms of human-robot interaction, with a focus on ergonomics and behavioral aspects. She is project manager of the H2020 CYBERLEGs Plus Plus project, and co-PI of the MOTU project funded by INAIL (the National Institute for Insurance Against Accidents at Work) and CENTAUROfunded by Regione Toscana. She is the scientific coordinator of the national project HABILIS funded by INAIL, which aims at developing novel hand exoskeletons for the rehabilitation of workers following work-related injuries.
Greg Davault joined Ekso Bionics in March 2015 as Vice President, Global Marketing and was recently promoted to Chief Marketing Officer in January 2018. In this role he is responsible for driving global commercialization efforts for healthcare and industrial exoskeletons. Prior to joining Ekso Bionics, Mr. Davault was the Vice President of Global Market Development at Given Imaging, now part of Medtronic, where he was responsible for creating and executing the go-to- market strategy for PillCam COLON Capsule Endoscopy. He also led corporate strategy and in his last role managed the PillCam franchise. Mr. Davault has over 20 years of experience in various sales and marketing roles with St. Jude Medical, Kimberly-Clark Healthcare, and Standard Register. He received his MBA from Georgia State University and his BS in Marketing from Indiana University.
Nikhil has over the last 10 years served as an executive in large multi-national corporations with responsibilities for Corporate and Business Development, M&A, Product Marketing, and P&L management. He has completed 2.5B USD in M&A transactions, launched 16 products in various categories, and has led transformative change initiatives driving growth and profitability. He now leads Business and Product development efforts at ROAM ROBOTICS Inc., a start up wearable robotics company. Mr. Dhongade has an M.S. from the University of Massachusetts, and an MBA from Duke University.
Dr. Massimo Di Pardo is currently responsible for the “human factors and wearable technology” working group at Fiat Research Centre (CRF), World Class Manufacturing Research and Innovation department.
He is also responsible for the Collaborative and Wearable Robotics laboratory at CRF. The research activities he’s leading are concerning the application and validation of wearable and interactive technologies in workplaces and factory environment. He is also focused on the development of methods for evaluation of ergonomics in human-robot interaction. Massimo is the CRF leader of the project “HuManS,” funded by Regione Piemonte aiming to develop a Human Centred Manufacturing System, and he is partner of H2020 EU-project INBOTS. He is the coordinator of FCA and CNHi projects concerning the evaluation of exoskeletons implementability in the factory aiming to prevent work-related disease and to improve the wellness for workers. Massimo earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Polytechnic of Turin in 1990.
Jaime Duarte co-founded MyoSwiss AG, along with Kai Schmidt, in the summer of 2017 to bring assistive technology to the market. He joined the Sensory-Motor Systems Lab at ETH Zurich in September 2015 where he studies the use of robotic devices for rehabilitation and assistance of people with mobility impairments. Jaime received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Central Florida (2009), and the M.S. (2011) and PhD (2014) degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.
Ryan Farris serves as the Engineering Manager for Parker Hannifin Corporation’s Human Motion and Control Division. He leads an interdisciplinary team of engineers with expertise in mechanical systems, controls, embedded electronics, software, and biomechanics. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Cleveland State University in the Mechanical Engineering department. His research interests include the design and control of electromechanical devices for medical applications and, in particular, human assistive technologies. Ryan earned a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, in 2007, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, in 2009 and 2012, respectively. He is a licensed professional engineer in the states of Tennessee and Ohio.
Bruce Floersheim, P.E., Ph.D., COO, GoX Studio
Dr. Floersheim has over 25 years of experience successfully leading and managing organizations of increasing complexity and responsibility as an officer in the United States Army and a small business founder/executive. Dr. Floersheim successfully started and has grown a federal government services company from the original two founders to $210M contract awards and 45 employees in the third full year of operations, running the company as CEO. He is currently the COO of GoX Studio, a product development company focused on wearable and robotic technologies that enhance health, performance, and quality of life. He is also a co-founder and Director of Operations for the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA). Dr. Floersheim obtained his 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 in West Point.
Gail F. Forrest, Ph.D. is Associate Director of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. She is also an Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School. As a postdoctoral fellow at Kessler Foundation Research Center in 2002, Dr. Forrest was awarded grant funding by the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Research to investigate locomotor training (LT) using body weight support with manual assistance for individuals after Incomplete SCI. She has presented and published extensively in the area of neuroplasticity and musculoskeletal changes for individuals after SCI. Dr. Forrest has other key interests in the area of biomechanics as related to modeling algorithms for understanding control mechanisms in upper extremity (i.e. arm reaching after stroke), and postural control during locomotion. Currently, she is combining exoskeletal-assisted walking with external electrical stimulation of the spinal cord toward potentially promoting voluntary muscle firing and independent walking.
Stephane Frijia joined the Greater Phoenix Economic Council in 2011. As Senior Vice President of Strategy and Research, he leads the formulation of strategic initiatives and programs, in alignment with GPEC mission and action plan, and the development of new innovative research capabilities to supports domestic and international business attraction efforts and marketing. Mr. Frijia is also responsible for developing and overseeing GPEC’s international strategy, in coordination with the International Leadership Council composed of prominent business leaders and elected officials. Prior to joining GPEC, Mr. Frijia served as a researcher at the Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at Arizona State University. Additionally, he has worked as a professional consultant for numerous airports and cities around the country, providing assistance with air service development, planning and engineering, operational procedures, project management and actions to enhance the value of the airport. He earned a master’s degree in urban and environmental planning and a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical management technology from Arizona State University.
Richard Gardner is a Boeing Technical Fellow, Boeing Designated Expert, and Technical Lead Engineer with Boeing’s Research & Technology organization. Mr. Gardner supports product development by establishing requirements and verification methodologies that translate to safe and efficient production system processes. He serves as principal investigator for manufacturing ergonomics research with Boeing strategic universities and is the functional thrust leader for a portfolio of internal research projects focused on human performance measurement and worker augmentation. Prior to joining Boeing, Mr. Gardner worked as a human factors flight test engineer for the Naval Air Systems Command where he conducted human-machine interface research for manned and unmanned weapon systems. He holds a M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas Tech University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of Colorado. Mr. Gardner is a Licensed Professional Engineer and Board Certified Professional Ergonomist.
Hartmut Geyer is an Associate Professor at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. His research focuses on the principles of legged dynamics and control, their relation to human motor control, and resulting applications in humanoid and rehabilitation robotics. He earned his Dipl. degree in physics and Ph.D. degree in biomechanics from the Friedrich-Schiller- University of Jena, Germany, in 2001 and 2005, respectively.
Robert (Bobby) Gregg joined the Departments of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) as an Assistant Professor in June 2013, with an adjunct appointment at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. Prior to joining UTD, he was a Research Scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. Dr. Gregg directs the Locomotor Control Systems Laboratory, which conducts research on the control mechanisms of bipedal locomotion with applications to wearable control systems, including prostheses and orthoses. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and the Career Award at the Scientific Interface from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Dr. Gregg is a Senior Member of the IEEE Control Systems Society and the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society. He received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 and 2010, respectively.
Paul Gudonis has served as CEO of medical device company Myomo for the past six years, positioning the company as the leader in wearable robotics for upper limb paralysis. He has pioneered new technologies and created new markets during his 30-year career spanning biomedical devices, robotics, software, and telecommunications services. From launching the first cellphone service in the country to building the first Internet backbone network into a billion-dollar global services provider, he has grown venture-backed startup companies and led several publicly held corporations. He took Myomo public in June 2017 as the first company to be listed on a national exchange, the NYSE American, under the JOBS Act/Regulation A+ rules. He has served as Chairman of the Massachusetts High Tech Council, and is a member of the McCormick Advisory Council at Northwestern University, where he earned his degree in electrical engineering. He also earned an MBA degree from Harvard University.
Dr. Hitt is recognized nationally as an expert in wearable robotic technologies and human systems. He participates on multiple government, private and academic panels and boards such as the Board on Army Science and Technology, the Army Basic Science Review Panel, and Wearable Robotics International Workshop. He has been invited to be the plenary speaker at numerous conferences such as those 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. Dr. Hitt 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.
Tricia Hock currently serves as Program Development Director of the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), an affiliate of ASTM International. She has over 20 years’ experience in the personnel protective equipment industry; including manufacturing, product development, standards development, and conformity assessment. SEI operates ISO/IEC 17065 accredited certification programs for over 60 types of safety and protective products used by millions of workers in the construction industry, fire & emergency services industry and by recreational consumers of sports and athletic equipment. SEI has recently become an affiliate of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Ms. Hock serves as the Chairperson on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Emergency Medical Services Protective Clothing and Equipment. She also serves on various other technical committees that develop performance standards for the NFPA, ASTM, and the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE). She was instrumental in developing certification requirements for the U.S Lacrosse Certification Program and is currently working with the ASTM Committee F12 on Security Systems and Equipment. Ms. Hock received her Master of Science in Textiles and her Bachelor of Science in Apparel, Merchandising and Textiles from the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Jayaraman is the Director of the Max Näder Center for Rehabilitation Technologies & Outcomes Research and a research scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago / Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. He is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences, and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. In addition, Dr. Jayaraman serves as the Director of Global Outreach for the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA). 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.
Tommaso Lenzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Utah, and a Core Faculty in the Utah Robotics Center. Previously, he was a Research Scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. He is a member of IEEE, the Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), and the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). Dr. Lenzi has co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications and nine patent applications and disclosures. He serves as Associate Editor for the IEEE International Conferences on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR) and Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BIOROB). Dr. Lenzi directs the Bionic Engineering Lab, which conducts research at the intersections of robotics, mechatronics, and rehabilitation medicine with a major emphasis on the design and control of wearable robots for human assistance and rehabilitation. He received the MS degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pisa in 2008, and the PhD degree in BioRobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in 2012.
Zachary Lerner is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University. He received the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Colorado State University in 2015 before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in 2016. His research seeks to improve mobility and neuromuscular function in individuals with disabilities through advancement in the design, control, and implementation of robotic exoskeletons. For more information please visit www.nau.edu/biomech
Manmeet Maggu is the Co-Founder and CEO of Trexo Robotics. His commitment to helping children with cerebral palsy walk drove the vision for Trexo and continues to guide his leadership style within the company. Manmeet co-founded Trexo during his MBA at the Rotman School of Management with the help of the University of Toronto Entrepreneurship Hatchery. Prior to the MBA, Manmeet completed a Mechatronics Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo and has worked at several corporations including Blackberry (RIM), Qualcomm and others. He also brings experience as a project manager at Tracan Electronics where he helped carry hardware projects through the entire product development lifestyle. Manmeet strongly believes in robotics for the betterment of limited technologies.
Trent Maruyama is a Rehabilitation Program Coordinator in the Barrow Neuro-Rehabilitation Center at Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He has been an Occupational Therapist for the past 23 years and at Barrow since 2001. Trent has developed and implemented a Neuro-Robotics Program to assist people with stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurological diagnosis to work toward resumption of their life roles throughout their recovery. He has organized and put on Robotics Symposiums at Barrow Neurological Institute to promote the use of robotics in the rehabilitation field and expose the current and upcoming research in the rehabilitation robotics field to therapists. At Barrow Neurological Institute, Trent continues to do clinical trials to help show efficacy of robotics in the healthcare field.
Matthew Marino is a Lead Ergonomist with Briotix, located in Portland, OR. Briotix is the leading provider of workforce performance solutions, combining ergonomic, injury-prevention, physical rehabilitation and performance optimization services. In his role, Matt works with some of the world’s largest companies to develop human-centered organizations and unlock the full potential of the global workforce. His background and training have given him the tools to develop results driven programs for a global clientele. Matt is a Physical Therapist, Certified Professional Ergonomist, Certified Workers Compensation Healthcare Provider, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator, Certified Personal Trainer, Six Sigma black belt who is trained in the Functional Movement Screen, Selective Functional Movement Assessment and Y Balance Test.
Karen Nolan is a Senior Research Scientist in the Human Performance and Engineering at the Kessler Foundation (KF), Associate Professor of PM&R at Rutgers NJMS, Clinical Research Scientist at Children’s Specialized Hospital, and Affiliated Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Dr. Nolan has extensive experience in leading the design and implementation of biomechanical research and strong expertise in balance, gait, movement analysis, neuromuscular physiology, rehabilitation robotics, and peripheral motor control. She completed the NIDRR-funded ARRT postdoctoral research fellowship in Biomechanics and Outcomes Research at KF/UMDNJ (now Rutgers) NJMS. Dr. Nolan was awarded a NIDRR Mary E. Switzer Merit Fellowship Grant to conduct research on the effect of stroke and orthotic interventions on gait. She is recognized as a leader in the field of biomechanics and motor rehabilitation and has been invited to give presentations on these topics at national and international conferences. Dr. Nolan serves as a grant reviewer for NIH, NIDILRR, VA, and is an ad-hoc reviewer for Archives of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, Journal of Biomechanics, Prosthetics and Orthotics International, NeuroRehabilitation, Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, and Journal of Applied Biomechanics and is a member of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, International Society of Biomechanics, and Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society.
Dr. Richard Nuckols is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and NC State University in 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Sawicki. There he investigated the effects of exoskeleton assistance on human gait. He joined the Biodesign and Biorobotics Labs under the direction of Dr. Conor Walsh and Dr. Robert Howe in 2017. His current focus is in development of exosuit technology for rehabilitation and enhancement of human gait, understanding variability in exosuit/exoskeleton performance across individuals, and development of ultrasound as a sensing modality for more intuitive and adaptive control systems.
Kathleen O’Donnell leads the Medical Exosuits program in the Walsh Biodesign lab at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. She is passionate about bringing principles of human factors and user research into all stages of the development process for medical devices. Kathleen holds degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Industrial Design, and previously worked in industry for Integra Neurosciences prior to joining the Wyss Institute. In her current role, she is active in guiding the technical development of the exosuits projects, as well as facilitating the lab’s collaboration with ReWalk Robotics. ReWalk plans to commercialize the first medical exosuits for stroke applications based on the technologies developed in the Walsh lab.
James L. Patton is a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a senior research scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. He worked in automotive manufacturing and in nuclear medicine before discovering the control of human movement. His general interests involve robotic teaching, dynamic balance control, haptics, modeling of the human-machine interface, and robot-facilitated recovery from a brain injury. Patton is vice president of IEEE-EMB society, and editor in chief of the Proceedings of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology. He earned BS degrees in mechanical engineering and engineering science from the University of Michigan in 1989, MS degree in theoretical mechanics from Michigan State, in 1993, and the PhD degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University in 1998.
Frank Pochiro is a Senior Engineer at BMW in the Process Planning Department responsible for Tooling, Fixtures, Equipment, and processes for BMWs built at the Spartanburg Facility in Upstate South Carolina. As part of a current initiatives to coordinate projects focusing on innovations for manufacturing and assembly, he collaborated with two wearable robotics suppliers to be the first in the world to use exoskeletons in the automotive manufacturing industry. BMW’s experience with exoskeletons has been highlighted in several major publications and German Television. Prior to BMW, Frank spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry. He has held multiple contract or direct engineering and management positions in quality, design, and manufacturing. He worked at Dimensional Control Systems, EDAG, Opel, DaimlerChrysler, and Robert Bosch Corporation.
Rodrigo (Rod) V. Rimando. Jr. is the Director of the Technology Development Office in the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM). He has over 28 years of nuclear experience, 20 of which were spent working in a variety of field assignments as an environmental engineer and project manager at several DOE nuclear sites. Mr. Rimando is now charged with advancing EM’s mission of legacy nuclear cleanup by exploiting innovative solutions and novel technologies. Because of the high-hazard, high-consequence and high-risk nature of EM’s mission over the next several decades, Mr. Rimando has placed programmatic emphasis on the use of robotics, remote systems, virtual tools, and complementary technologies to enhance cleanup operations by working safer and smarter. Wearable robotics for use by the general workforce is of particular interest to Mr. Rimando because it serves to be a new form of personal protective equipment as well as a performance augmentation and amplification device. Mr. Rimando’s vast, hands-on field experience gives him an end-user perspective that will drive practical use of the state-of-the-art.
Devjani Saha is a medical device reviewer at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Her main area of expertise is exoskeletons and physical medicine rehabilitation devices. Prior to coming to the FDA, she was a researcher in the field of prosthetics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She received her PhD in Rehabilitation Robotics and her Masters in Biomechanics from Northwestern University and her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lars Schilling is CEO of noonee. He brings strong leadership and 16 years of experience in various management position to the company. He has worked with global operating medium-sized enterprises in consumer and industry companies. His experience includes C-Level to specialists achieving sustainable and long-term success in turn-around management, restructuring and re-organization based on the Lean Management philosophy as well as realizing international growth potentials. Prior to noonee he held senior management roles for a variety of companies in marketing, business development and product management.
Dr. Thomas Sugar works in the areas of wearable robotics for rehabilitation and gait assistance. In industry, he worked as a project engineer for W. L. Gore and Associates earning a Professional Engineering License. He is a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Department of Engineering at Arizona State University. He majored in business and mechanical engineering for his Bachelor’s degrees and mechanical engineering for his Doctoral degree, all from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sugar leads a research effort in wearable robotic systems. He is developing robotic orthoses and prostheses for rehabilitation and enhanced mobility. His current research projects include SPARKy, Spring Ankle with Regenerative Kinetics, a powered prosthetic ankle, PAFO, a powered ankle foot orthosis, and wearable exoskeletons for enhanced gait performance. Dr. Sugar also co-founded two companies: SpringActive, Inc. and the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA).
Dr. Ravi Gopal Varma obtained his MBBS in 1991 from M S Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, and his MS (General Surgery) from Manipal Academy of Higher Education in 1995. He received Mch (Master of Surgery) in Neurosurgery in 1998 and went on to do a Clinical Fellowship at London Health Sciences Center, University of Western Ontario in 2003. His areas of specialization include Surgery for Movement Disorders, Epilepsy and Pain, Paediatric Neurosurgery and Endoscopic Neurosurgery. He commenced his practice in 1999 as a consultant in the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Manipal Hospital Bangalore. In 2000, He joined as an Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at M.S.Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore. He worked there for 16 years and in his last position as Professor and Head, Department of Neurosurgery. In May 2016, he joined his current position as Chief of Neuro Sciences and Lead Consultant Neurosurgeon at Aster CMI Hospital. Dr. Varma is one of the leading experts of the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) technique to address movement disorders and was responsible for initiating DBS programs at several hospitals in India.
Nicola Vitiello is an Associate Professor with The BioRobotics Institute (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, SSSA, Pisa, Italy) where he leads the Wearable Robotics Laboratory. He is co-author of more than 60 ISI/Scopus papers and co-inventor of more than 15 patent applications. He served as the Scientific Secretary of the EU FP7 CA-RoboCom project, and he was the scientific project coordinator of the EU FP7 CYBERLEGs project. Currently he is the scientific project coordinator of the H2020-ICT- CYBERLEGs Plus Plus project, the national project MOTU funded by INAIL, and is partner of the H2020-ICT- AIDE and H2020-FoF- HUMAN projects. In 2015, he co-founded IUVO Srl, a spin-off company of SSSA.
Dr. Eric Wetzel is the Team Leader for Multifunctional Materials, and Research Area Leader for Soldier Materials, at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, MD. His research interests span a range of topics, including ballistic textiles, multifunctional composite materials, additive manufacturing, and two-dimensional materials. Dr. Wetzel has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal publications and book chapters, 70 conference proceedings articles, and holds 15 patents. In 2002, Dr. Wetzel’s research on shear thickening fluid (STF)-treated protective fabrics was awarded the Paul A. Siple award, the U.S. Army’s highest recognition for excellence in scientific research. In 2014, Dr. Wetzel was awarded an NFL Head Health Challenge grant for the investigation of concussion-mitigation technologies, followed by selection in 2015 for a Head Health Challenge Final Award to prepare the technology for commercialization. Dr. Wetzel has also been selected for a 2018 Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.
Dr. Karl Zelik co-directs the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology (CREATE) at Vanderbilt University. CREATE aims to improve health, mobility and independence for individuals with disabilities, and to enhance human capabilities beyond biological limits, by engineering, measuring, optimizing and understanding technologies that physically augment human performance. Dr. Zelik’s research team employs experimental and computational methods to study human biomechanics (the science of movement) and how biomechanical principles can translate into improvements in assistive devices (prostheses, exoskeletons, smart clothing). Dr. Zelik received his B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, then his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Following this, he was a post-doctoral researcher and Whitaker International Scholar at the Santa Lucia Foundation Rehabilitation Hospital in Rome, Italy. He joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at Vanderbilt University in 2014 and holds secondary appointments in the departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.