Norm Bafunno is responsible for all North American Powertrain Plants and Production Engineering. In addition, he is responsible for all North American manufacturing safety, environmental, facilities and internal logistics. He joined Toyota in 1997 as part of the Indiana plant’s startup team in the role of General Manager, Production. Over the following 13 years he held the titles of Senior Vice President for Production, Manufacturing Planning, Administration and Quality. Prior to joining Toyota, Norm spent 14 years with General Motors in the truck manufacturing group. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University. Norm is a past Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross of Southwestern Indiana, Evansville Sports Corporation, and Indiana Manufacturers Association, among others.
Michael Goldfarb is the H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Goldfarb conducts research on the design and control of robotic devices and systems that interact physically with people, specifically with the intent to improve mobility, functionality, quality of life, or quality of care for people with physical disabilities. He has published more than 200 papers on related topics, including papers that were awarded best-paper awards in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2009, and 2013, and papers that were finalists for best paper awards in 2015 and 2017. Current and prior work includes the development of robotic limbs for upper and lower extremity amputees, and the development of lower limb exoskeletons for individuals with spinal cord injury and stroke. Among his contributions, Dr. Goldfarb developed a lower limb exoskeleton now sold as the Indego exoskeleton, which enables individuals with paraplegia to stand and walk. In recognition of his contributions to the development of the Indego exoskeleton, Dr. Goldfarb was named by Popular Mechanics in 2013 as one of 10 Innovators Who Changed the World. Other honors include the Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for Research in 2008, the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Edward Nagy Award in 2011, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Wyss Institute Translational Award in 2012, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Outstanding Paper Award in 2013, and an R&D 100 Award in 2018.
Rich Mahoney is the CEO and Founder of Seismic, an early stage company that is bringing to market a fusion of clothing and robotics, called Powered Clothing, designed to enhance and protect the body from physical stress in work, home, and recovery. Before Seismic, Rich was the Director of SRI Robotics for more than seven years, where he led a team delivering cutting-edge robotics innovations to DARPA, other government, and commercial customers, for healthcare, security, industrial, and consumer applications. In addition to Seismic, Rich led the licensing and spin-out of SRI Robotics technology into new ventures, including Redwood Robotics, Grabit, Verb Surgical, Yamaha’s Motobot, Enaex’s Robot Miner, and Abundant Robotics. Rich was the founding President of Silicon Valley Robotics and has made numerous contributions to articles and conferences as a thought leader for innovation and commercialization of early stage service robotics. He received his B.S. and M.S. from Drexel University, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge, England, where he attended on a Fulbright Scholarship.
General 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.
Marisol Barrero has worked for Toyota Motor North America (Georgetown, KY) in the Production Engineering Division’s Safety Group since December 2006. Currently she manages the North American manufacturing ergonomics program. She develops and supports tools, standards, and procedures for use across Toyota’s 15 North American manufacturing facilities. She leads ergonomics development for new vehicles produced in North America. Her most recent role has been to lead the implementation of safety-related wearable devices across Toyota. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), sponsored via the Wearable Robotics Association. Prior to joining Toyota, Marisol worked as an ergonomics consultant with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group and Humantech, as well as a researcher with the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). She received her B.A. and M.S. from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She has been a Certified Professional Ergonomist since 2006.
Terry Butler 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 focused on the use of exoskeletons for worker safety.
Kristin Davenport advises medical device companies regarding premarket strategies and pathways, the premarket submission process, advertising and promotion, compliance and enforcement matters, and import/export issues. She has extensive experience with 510(k) premarket notifications, de novo petitions, premarket approval applications, investigational device exemptions, device modifications, 513(g) Requests for Information, MDR reporting, device recalls, and Part 806 reports. Kristin regularly prepares 513(g) Requests for Information to obtain FDA’s views regarding the classification and applicable regulatory requirements for novel devices, such as mobile medical applications. She develops successful premarket strategies for clients, and frequently participates in pre-submission meetings with CDRH. Kristin navigates issues that arise during the premarket review process and has successfully represented device companies in administrative appeals. She also assists and represents clients in compliance and enforcement proceedings, including responding to FDA Form 483s and Warning Letters. She advises on jurisdictional questions and assists clients with combination product issues, including submitting Requests for Designation to the Office of Combination Products.
Jason Gillette earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering/Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University. He is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate Education with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University. He utilizes video, force, and EMG measurements to analyze athletic movements, industrial job tasks, and activities of daily living. One of his projects involves assessing a passive shoulder support exoskeleton in industrial manufacturing settings using EMG to quantify effects on muscle activation and fatigue.
Conor Walsh is the Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the John A. Paulson Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is the is the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, apparel, clinical and business communities to develop new disruptive robotic technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance. This research includes new approaches to the design, manufacture and control of wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies so as to further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. His multidisciplinary research spans engineering, biology and medicine and has led to multiple high impact scientific papers as well as technology translation. Multiple technologies from the lab have been licensed to industry and the ReStore soft exosuit from ReWalk Robotics is now FDA and CE mark approved. He is the winner of multiple awards including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 Award.