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.
Breakout Session Speakers:
Asgeir Alexandersson is Director of the Research & Innovation Department within R&D at Össur, a global prosthetics and orthotics manufacturer with headquarters in Iceland. He earned his M.D. degree from the University of Iceland and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Reykjavik University. The Research & Innovation Department he is leading is responsible for various research and new technology project explorations outside of Össur’s core business and current product solutions. Among these are seven Horizon 2020 projects, an exoskeletal project for the support of patients with gait problems and a project of interfacing Össur’s future prosthetic products with the human nervous system.
Mohamed Badawy is a Senior Engineering Specialist at KIA Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) since 2018, where he supports the ergonomics program activities. He serves as Co-Chair of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), sponsored by the Wearable Robotics Association. Mohamed is also an Affiliate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Auburn University. He received his Ph.D. from Auburn University in 2018. He also received a Master in Mechanical Design and Production from Cairo University in Egypt in 2014. Prior to obtaining his Master’s degree, he worked as a Mechanical Engineer in the Solar Energy Business.
Marisol Barrero, CPE, Project Manager, Production Engineering Safety Group, Toyota Motor North America
Marisol Barrero has worked for Toyota Motor North America in the Production Engineering Division’s Safety Group since December 2006. Currently she manages the development and integration of safety-related technology and innovations across manufacturing operations, which is a role that she started at Toyota. She serves as Co-Chair of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), sponsored by the Wearable Robotics Association. She previously held the position of Regional Ergonomics Manager where she supported tools, standards, and procedures for Toyota’s 15 North American manufacturing facilities. 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.
Edgar Bolívar is a Research Fellow at the Locomotion Control Systems Laboratory (LoCoLab) at the University of Michigan. The mission of the LoCoLab is to develop high-performance wearable control systems to enable mobility and improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Edgar is known for his work in the optimal design of series elastic actuators. He discovered that multiple objectives in the design of series elasticity (e.g., motor energy consumption and feasibility of torque-speed motor constraints) could be formulated as robust-convex optimization programs. These contributions have been recognized with the Best Student Robotics Paper Award at the 2017 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference. Edgar earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Dallas; and his B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Dr. Thomas C. Bulea is a Staff Scientist in the Functional & Applied Biomechanics Section of the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD. He received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and a visiting post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Houston. His research focuses on integration of neural interfacing and functional neuroimaging with rehabilitation robotics to develop new therapeutic tools and interventions for treatment of movement disorders and paralysis. A recent emphasis has been on development of pediatric exoskeletons and their evaluation in children with cerebral palsy.
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.
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.
Matt Giffhorn, Physical Therapist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Matt Giffhorn is a physical therapist working in the Max Nader Lab for Rehabilitation Technologies and Outcomes at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. His projects focus on the use of lower extremity robotics in neurologic populations. Matt also works in inpatient rehabilitation, primarily with spinal cord injury. His background in clinical care and research give him a unique perspective on integrating robotics into rehabilitation.
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.
Dr. Joseph 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, Joe was invited to become a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). While at DARPA, he 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. Joe 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.
Arne Kiis, Sales Director, AnyBody Technology
Arne Kiis is a Sales Director at AnyBody Technology with international experience in new business and all aspects of complex solution selling and sales management. He has experience in communicating solutions effectively and professionally to all levels within an organization and is fluent in English, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. Arne has more the 14 years’ experience in IT systems architecture and integration, combined with international IT sales. He earned degrees in biology, computer sciences, and sales & marketing.
Zach Lerner is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University. He received his 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.
Matt Marino is the Director of Ergonomics and Human Factors for HeroWear LLC. He is a licensed Physical Therapist, Certified Professional Ergonomist, and a strength and conditioning professional with numerous professional certifications and organization affiliations in these areas. Matt has expertise in the design, testing and implementation of exoskeletons and wearable technology in clinical and workplace environments, with extensive experience providing rehabilitation and consulting services for clients in many industries including manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, logistics, construction, retail, transportation, municipalities, utilities, healthcare settings, office settings, and tactical operations. He has performed research, published work, presented at many conferences around the world, delivered guest lectures and has collaborated with various universities, agencies, institutes, organizations and associations. Matt has been a contributing member of the ASTM Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits since its 2017 inception, he is a founding partner of the ASTM Exo Technology Center of Excellence, and a member of the Wearable Robotics Association. His vision is to leverage cutting edge technology, science and methods to help people unlock hidden potential in the mind and body, solve difficult problems, optimize performance, and pursue healthy, full, high-quality lives.
Dr. Christophe Maufroy has a double Master Degree in Mechanical Engineering (ULB – Ecole Centrale Paris) and a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Electro-Communications (Japan) for his work on bio-inspired control of quadruped robot locomotion. Since 2009, he has led the development of many robotics systems in several European and German national projects, such as the EU FP7 Myorobotics project, which was awarded the German High-Tech Champion 2013 price. He joined the Fraunhofer IPA in 2012, where he is currently leading the research group, “Physical Assistance Systems and Smart Sensors.” His main interest lies in the design of bioinspired and wearable robots, in particular active exoskeletons.
Ryan Porto is a Technical Specialist in Ergonomics at General Motors. He received a Bachelor of Human Kinetics and a Masters in Human Performance from the University of Windsor. For the past 13 years, he has worked with design and manufacturing engineering, managing new program launches in all sectors of the industry including Vehicle, Powertrain and Advanced Propulsion. Ryan leads the advancement of virtual human simulation in product and manufacturing for GM’s Global Ergonomics program. He also provides technical support to the development and implementation of evolving wearable technologies. Ryan is a member of the Ergonomic Task Force at the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) and a member of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), sponsored by the Wearable Robotics Association.
Seungmoon Song is a postdoctoral researcher in the Mechanical Engineering Department of Stanford University. His research focuses on modeling the neuromechanics of human movement and applying it to rehabilitation and robotics. As a postdoc, he is working on improving human walking performance with exoskeleton assistance using human-in-the-loop optimization. During his Ph.D. at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, he proposed a reflex-based control model that could explain various aspects of human locomotion including diverse locomotion behaviors of healthy adults, responses to unexpected disturbances, and performance degradation in aging. He is also the lead organizer of the Learn to Move competition, which is an official competition of the NeurIPS conference.
Philip Vu is a postdoctoral fellow in Plastic Surgery at the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida. In 2014, he received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and in 2019 he completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan. His research interests involve investigating the use of a novel peripheral nerve interface in human subjects for controlling upper-limb prosthetic devices and providing sensory feedback via electrical stimulation. Primarily, he focuses on the extraction of finger-level motor information from peripheral neural sources for real-time control of hand prostheses. He has extensive experience in conducting clinical trial experiments with human subjects with upper-limb amputations, supervising the development of experimental infrastructure, and writing and maintaining regulatory efforts for projects under investigational device exemptions (IDEs).
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.
Karl Zelik co-directs the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology (CREATE) at Vanderbilt University, and is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of HeroWear, which develops lift-assist supersuits to relieve back strain. His goal is to improve health, mobility and independence for individuals with disabilities, to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, and to enhance human capabilities beyond biological limits, by engineering and understanding technologies that monitor and physically augment human movement performance. 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, Dr. Zelik 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. He received the International Society of Biomechanics Promising Scientist Award and the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award in 2017, and a Nashville Emerging Leader Award in 2018.