Norm Bafunno, Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Engineering, Toyota Motor North America
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.
Asgeir Alexandersson is the Director of the Research & Innovation Department within R&D at Össur, a global prosthetics and orthotics manufacturer with headquarters in Iceland. The department is responsible for various research and new technology project explorations outside of Össur’s core business and current product solutions. Among these are seven EU funded 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. He earned his MD from the University of Iceland and a MSc in biomedical engineering from Reykjavik University.
Dr. Awad is the founding director of Boston University’s Neuromotor Recovery Laboratory—a cross-disciplinary research group that works to develop, study, and translate novel rehabilitation therapies and technologies for people living with neuromotor conditions resulting in walking-related disability. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Boston University, with affiliations in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Center for Neurophotonics. He is also a Research Associate in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and in the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Dr. Awad is Associate Editor for leading open access journals at the intersection of rehabilitation and technology, including Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation and the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology. He also serves as Chief Scientific Advisor to MedRhythms Inc and is a member of the Stroke Rehabilitation Scientific Advisory Board for ReWalk Robotics Ltd.
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 North American operations, which is a unique role that she started at Toyota. 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 is the Co-Founder and current Board member of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), sponsored by the Wearable Robotics Association, and presently sits on the ASTM Exoskeleton Center of Excellence Research & Development Committee. She is a regular speaker at various safety and technology conferences including Applied Ergonomics Conference, HFES’s Ergo X, Enterprise Wearables Technology Summit, EHS Today Safety Leadership Conference, and WearRAcon. She received her BA and MS from Cornell University and has been a Certified Professional Ergonomist since 2006.
Heni Ben Amor is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University. Previously, he was a research scientist at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, where he led a project to improve robots for future applications in industrial settings, especially manufacturing. Prior to moving to Georgia Tech, Heni worked with Jan Peters at the Technical University Darmstadt as a postdoctoral scholar. His research topics focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, human-robot interaction, robot vision, and automatic motor skill acquisition. He received the highly competitive Daimler-and-Benz Fellowship as well as several best paper awards at major robotics and AI conferences. He also serves on the program committee of various AI and robotics conferences, including AAAI, IJCAI, IROS, and ICRA. Heni earned his PhD Robotics, Technical University Freiberg, Germany.
Dr. William “Bill” Billotte is the Director of Global Exo Technology Programs at ASTM International and a member of the F48 Exoskeletons and Exosuits Committee. Prior to joining ASTM, Bill spent the past 17 years providing scientific and technical advice to federal agencies, first responders, and international organizations on topics including exoskeletons, critical infrastructure protection, CBRNE detection, and first responder equipment. His scientific curiosity and passion for helping others has led him to work on a host of diverse projects. Bill advocated and aided the establishment of the ASTM F48 committee and is working on their long term strategy and research agendas. He spent a year abroad as a visiting scientist on the European Union’s critical infrastructure protection team at the Joint Research Centre in Italy, where he provided technical assistance to their working groups to help inform EU policies and international standards. He sponsored a forum through the National Academy of Sciences to convene experts from the federal, private, international, and non-government sectors to exchange information and ideas to improve preparedness and capabilities for disasters that involve accidental or intentional contamination with CBRN agents. He coordinated programs that produced over 50 homeland security focused national standards and over 100 reports on first responder equipment. Bill has received several awards including the US Department of Commerce’s Gold Medal Award for Heroism. Bill holds a PhD in Biology from the University of Dayton, a Master in Science in Engineering from Wright State University, and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology.
David Brodie is the Ergonomist Lead for the North America region of Cargill, Inc. In this role, he oversees the implementation of programs, processes, solutions, and technology across the region. In 2011, David joined Cargill as a Corporate Ergonomist for their Protein Group, where he worked with fellow ergonomists and plant EHS personnel to implement an ergonomics process that resulted in >70% reduction in musculoskeletal injuries. He has over 23 years of experience in office, industrial, meat processing, transportation, and healthcare settings. David is Co-Chair of the National Ergonomics Conference and Expo, Co-Chair of the AExG, and has held volunteer positions as the President of the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) and Administrator of the Ergonomics Practice Specialty within the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). A Certified Professional Ergonomist, David holds a Master of Science in Kinesiology.
Terry Butler is a Certified Safety Professional and ASSE professional member who has focused his 35-year career in global manufacturing on implementing innovative solutions for protecting employees and is currently President of Lean Steps Consulting Inc. Over the last six years Terry has been working with Iowa State University and global manufacturers taking the lead in the industry to quantify the physical benefits of working with and without the aid of exoskeleton technology. He has authored several articles focused on the use of exoskeletons for worker safety. Terry sits on the ASTM F48 committee for Exoskeletons and Exosuits and holds two BS degrees from Illinois State University in Occupational Safety Engineering and Industrial Technology.
Jean-Louis Constanza is Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer at Wandercraft, a pioneer of self-balanced walk exoskeletons. Since 2012, he has contributed to starting up and growing Wandercraft. The company now has a team of 80 algorithmics, robotics and medical specialists, based in Paris, France. The company has a strong team of field experts, helping medical teams to share experience and build innovative treatment methods leveraging the exo’s capabilities. The exoskeleton’s rehabilitation version, Atalante, was developed in 2012. It was CE-marked in 2019 and then commercialized to European hospitals seeking to conduct early, intense, and task-oriented treatment. It is now used in clinical routine with hundreds of patients for walk re-learning and training treatment. FDA pre-submission was conducted in 2020, with a perspective to submit the application for approval in 2021. A personal version of the exo is in development, aimed at restoring walking for impaired persons’ mobility in their daily lives. Previously, Jean-Louis had founded and led several companies in high technology fields. He earned an aerospace engineering degree with a major in robotics and an MBA from INSEAD.
Dr. Heather Dean currently leads the Acute Injury Devices Team as Assistant Director in the Division of Neuromodulation and Physical Medicine Devices within FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. She has been at the FDA for more than five years, initially as a lead reviewer in the Physical Medicine and Neurotherapeutic Devices Branch (PNDB). As a lead reviewer, she primarily reviewed therapeutic and functional devices including diathermy devices, wheelchairs, powered exoskeleton devices, prosthetic devices, powered muscle stimulator/TENS devices, Brain Computer Interface (BCI) systems, and other physical medicine devices. She most enjoys bringing her neuroscience expertise to the review of studies with neural enabled prosthetic devices. Heather earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and master’s degree in Computation and Neural Systems from the California Institute of Technology before going on to Duke University to work on her PhD in neurobiology doing primate electrophysiology. She then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University, helping to build the lab of Bijan Pesaran, where she began the optogenetics portion of the research there. She came to Washington, D.C. on a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship from AAAS and spent three years at the National Science Foundation as a Fellow and then Associate Program Director, followed by a brief stint consulting for the Kavli Foundation as part of the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative.
Woody Dwyer, AVP, Technical Solutions – Risk Solutions at Hanover Insurance, leads a team of talented technical directors who focus on major insurance lines and key customer industries. He is passionate about helping businesses assess their operational risks and work towards building a safe and productive workplace. Woody has conducted numerous high-impact presentations throughout the world on diverse topics ranging from implementing effective risk management strategies to developing effective and efficient safety and ergonomic programs. He has written or been featured in numerous industry and trade publications discussing workers compensation, health and safety and ergonomics.
Daniel Ferris is the Robert W. Adenbaum Professor of Engineering Innovation at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the biomechanics and neural control of human locomotion, specifically in regard to human-machine interactions (mechanical and electrical). Current projects include technology development and basic science research using mobile brain imaging, robotic lower limb exoskeletons, and bionic lower limb prostheses. Dr. Ferris completed his PhD at UC Berkeley, MS at the University of Miami, and BS at the University of Central Florida. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at the UCLA Department of Neurology and the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan for 16 years. In 2017, Dr. Ferris moved to the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering and Chair of the NIH Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences study section.
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.
Antonio Frisoli is a Full Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, where he heads the Human Robot Interaction (HRI) area of the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory. His research interests are in rehabilitation robotics, wearable robotics and exoskeletons, multimodal interaction and haptics,wearable devices and virtual reality, collaborative robotics. The group has recently developed wearable robotics, with particular reference to exoskeleton for upper limb rehabilitation. Additionally, Antonio is CSO and Co-Founder of Wearable Robotics srl, a leading international company in the robot exoskeleton market for industrial and medical applications. He is a senior member of IEEE, a member of the executive committee of the EuroHaptics society, member of the ICORR society on Robotic Rehabilitation and of the I-RIM institute, the Italian Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines. Antonio has authored more than 300 scientific publications in peer reviewed conferences, scientific journals and books, and is listed among the Top Italian Scientists in engineering with a Scholar h-index of 38 and Scopus h-index of 28 (over 220 listed documents). He is associate editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Electronics and Robotics MDPI, IEEE Presence MIT Press and Frontiers in Computer Science Human-Media Interaction and former AE for IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters, IEEE Transactions on Haptics and guest editor for IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems.
Dr. Jason Gillette currently serves as an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Education with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University. His research interests include biomechanics, ergonomics, and injury mechanisms. He utilizes video, force, and EMG measurements combined with musculoskeletal modeling to analyze human motion and estimate loading on the human body. Dr. Gillette is a member of the ASTM International F48 Exoskeletons and Exosuits Committee. One of his current projects involves assessing a passive shoulder support exoskeleton in lab-based, manufacturing, and construction settings using EMG and motion analysis to quantify effects on muscle activation and fatigue. Dr. Gillette received a B.S. degree in Engineering Science, an M.E. degree in Engineering Mechanics, and a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering/Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University. He was a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Center for Biomedical Engineering at the University of Kentucky.
Dr. Hargrove is the Director and Scientific Chair of The Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine and of the Neural Engineering for Prosthetics and Orthotics Laboratory at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. He is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. A major goal of his research is to develop clinically realizable myoelectric control systems that can be made available to persons with limb loss in the near future. His research addresses all levels of amputation and has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the New England Journal of Medicine and multiple patents. Key projects include the development of advanced and adaptive control systems for prosthetic legs, improving control of robotic hand prostheses, and intramuscular EMG signal processing. In 2012, Dr. Hargrove co-founded Coapt, a company to transition advanced rehabilitation technologies from the research lab to patients’ homes.
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. 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.
Keith McMillen has been an innovator in audio and sensor technology for over 40 years. He is the Founder and CEO of BeBop Sensors, the world leader in smart fabric sensor wearable technology, developing smart sensor fabric solutions for automotive, wearable, medical and IoT solutions. Keith has started and sold two companies in his 40+ years innovating in the sensor and audio market. Zeta Music revolutionized stringed instruments and was sold to Gibson Guitars in 1992. Octiv, started in 2000, received funding from 3i and Intel Capital and was sold to Plantronics (NYSE:PLT) in 2005. McMillen is the inventor on numerous patents; has released hundreds of profitable products; published dozens of scholarly papers, and was winner of a Guthman Award in 2010. Keith received his BS in Acoustics under James Beauchamp from the University of Illinois where he also trained in classical guitar and studied composition with Herbert Brun, Scott Wyatt and Sal Martirano. Forbes magazine calls Keith McMillen “a true hero and genuine innovator” and has been named one of the top 20 sensor designers by Sensor Magazine.
Dr. Maury Nussbaum is a Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) at Virginia Tech, and received his undergraduate and graduate education from The University of Michigan. His research covers a variety of areas within the fields of occupational biomechanics, work physiology, and ergonomics, with primary goals of understanding and preventing the causes of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and occupational slips/trips/falls, as well as enhancing working efficiency. His recent work has focused primarily on helping to facilitate the safe and effective adoption of occupational exoskeletons in several industry sectors. He is a fellow of the Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the International Ergonomics Association, and the American Society of Biomechanics.
Dr. Donald Peterson is a tenured Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University. He is also a joint professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Dr. Peterson has over 25 years of experience in biomechanical engineering and medical research. His research has involved the investigation of injury mechanisms and human–device interaction and has led to the generation of new technologies and systems, such as personal protection technologies, occupational exoskeleton systems, robotic assist devices for hemiplegic rehabilitation, long-duration biosensor monitoring and reporting systems, novel surgical and dental devices and instruments, smart medical devices for home patient care, and biotechnology systems. He is currently serving as Chair of the ASTM Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits. Dr. Peterson has published over 130 peer-reviewed scholarly works and is Editor-in-Chief for “The Biomedical Engineering Handbook.” He is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, earning degrees in Aerospace Engineering (BS) and Biomechanical Engineering (BS) and a graduate of the University of Connecticut, earning degrees in Mechanical Engineering (MS) and Biomedical Engineering (PhD).
Dr. Vivek Pinto is the Director for the Division of Neuromodulation and Physical Medicine Devices in The Office of Health Technology 5 (OHT5): Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He leads four teams in this division with devices such as implanted and non-implanted neural stimulation devices, mobility devices, digital therapeutics, among others spanning medical conditions in neurology, psychiatry, and physical medicine and rehabilitation practices. Vivek came to the FDA as a medical scientific reviewer and spent five years as the Branch Chief/Assistant Director for the Physical Medicine and Neurotherapeutic Devices Branch/The Acute Injury Devices Team. Prior to joining the agency, he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and MS and PhD in Ergonomics and Biomechanics from New York University. He also had prior experience as a Research and Development Design Engineer at Mine Safety Appliances and as a Clinical Researcher at NYU Hospitals for Joint Diseases.
Dr. Marcel Reese created the first system for walking in VR with force- and balance-feedback (patent filed in 2010). He earned a PhD in Physics from the University of Göttingen in Germany and developed experimental and computational methods for drug-development and designed and built hardware to increase their sensitivity. During his Postdoc at MIT (2010-2015, Cambridge, USA) he developed hardware to further increase the sensitivity of NMR spectroscopy. Since 2015 he exclusively worked on making life-like VR and teleoperation of humanoids robots a reality, creating the Holotron.
Dr. Samuel Reimer is responsible for the global business development and product management of Ottobock’s exoskeleton portfolio, Paexo. He joined Ottobock in the Summer of 2019 after several years in management consulting with the Boston Consulting Group. There he focused on mergers and acquisitions, transformations and pricing strategies for the healthcare and medical device practice areas. He lives in Hamburg, Germany, holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London and UC Davis and a PhD in biomechanics and robotics from the Technical University of Munich.
Dr. Elliott Rouse is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Core Faculty Member in the Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan. He directs the Neurobionics Lab, where the vision is to reverse engineer how the nervous system regulates the mechanics of locomotion, while using this information to develop better wearable robotic technologies. He is the recipient of the 2019 NSF CAREER award and is a member of the IEEE EMBS Technical Committee on Biorobotics. In addition, he is on the Editorial Boards for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, and Wearable Technologies. Elliott earned a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University and his PhD degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University. Subsequently, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MIT Media Lab. In 2019 – 2020, Elliott was a visiting faculty member at (Google) X in California, where he maintains an appointment. Elliott and his research have been featured at TED, on the Discovery Channel, CNN, Digital Trends, Business Insider, among others.
David Roy is a 2nd Vice President at the Travelers Engineering Laboratory where he is responsible for field operations and the general liability and workers compensation subrogation forensic engineering initiatives. He joined The Travelers as an Ergonomics Specialist where he consulted with employers to
reduce ergonomic related injuries. In 1996, Risk & Insurance Magazine awarded David the “Top Product of the Year Award” for developing “The Travelers Office Ergonomics Consulting Product.” In 1997 David began working with Claim. His duties included identifying ways to integrate science and technology into claim investigations. He has authored several articles and a book chapter on the subject of ergonomics and human factors. He is currently serving as a member of the ANSI Z 535 committee on Warnings and Instructions. David is currently Co-Chair of the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace external advisory committee.
Dr. Ozell Sanders is a medical device reviewer for the Neurodegenerative devices team in the Division of Neuromodulation and Physical Medicine Devices within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health. As a lead reviewer, he primarily reviews therapeutic and functional devices including spinal cord stimulators, wheelchairs, powered exoskeleton devices, prosthetic devices, powered muscle stimulator/transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator devices, and other physical medicine devices. His main area of expertise is Biomechanics and Neuromotor Control and utilizes his training to review medical exoskeletons and physical medicine rehabilitation devices. Ozell earned his BA and MAs degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland Baltimore County before attending the University of Maryland School of Medicine to work on his PhD in Physical Rehabilitation Science. Following this, he was a post-doctoral researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the Neuromotor Performance Lab.
Dr. Urs Schneider is Director of the medical and biotech section at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany and his own highly interdisciplinary Biomechatronics department. He also serves as head of the Human Technology Interaction Department at IFF, University of Stuttgart and teaches medical device mechatronics at Stuttgart University. With more than 15 years of mechatronics engineering experience and a doctorate degree from Heidelberg University, he specializes in mechanical and mechatronic human machine interfaces in orthopedics, prosthetics and orthotics and human ergonomic and safety aspects.
Akash Shettannavar is a Senior Ergonomist for Tesla, Inc. based in Fremont, California. He has nearly nine years of industrial manufacturing experience working in hydraulic gear pump manufacturing and castings production, and for the last five years within the automotive manufacturing sector. His role at Tesla has now grown to working with Design for Manufacturing support where he gets the opportunity to utilize digital human modeling and simulation to influence the design of various parts of the vehicle, ensuring the best possible ergonomics for assembly. Akash earned a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, along with his Occupational Safety and Ergonomics Graduate Certification from Auburn University. He has practiced ergonomics in his graduate research, internships, and for the last five years at Tesla supporting general assembly and new product introduction.
Ann M. Spungen, Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Dept. of Rehabilitation and Human Performance, Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai
Dr. Ann Spungen is an applied physiologist who has been studying the medical consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI) since 1990. She is Professor and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Dr. Spungen is also the Associate Director of the VA Rehabilitation Research & Development (RR&D) National Center for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury. She is a national and internationally recognized investigator in the field of SCI medicine and rehabilitation, with 153 publications. Since 2010 she has devoted research efforts to understanding how exoskeletal-assisted walking can safely and effectively be used to impact mobility and the health and well-being of individuals with paralysis from SCI. Her work is one of the first to recognize the potential benefits of exoskeletal-assisted walking on bowel function, energy expenditure, body composition, quality of life and to describe specific contraindications using evidenced-based data for exoskeletal-assisted walking.
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.
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 transitions between walking and running. Dr. Sugar is also founder of SpringActive where he develops technology for prosthetic, orthotic, and exoskeleton systems. SpringActive has participated in multiple government-funded projects involving wearable systems, including grants and contracts from NSF, NIH, the U.S. Army and DARPA. The 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 Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
Heike Vallery received her Dipl.-Ing. degree in Mechanical Engineering (with honors) from RWTH Aachen University in 2004. Since then, she has been working on robot-assisted rehabilitation and prosthetic legs, in close collaboration with clinicians and partners from industry. She received her Dr.-Ing. from the Technische Universität München in 2009 and then continued her academic career at ETH Zürich and later at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. Today, as a full professor at TU Delft, she works on minimalistic and unconventional concepts to support human gait and balance. Since November 2019, she also holds an honorary professorship at the Department for Rehabilitation Medicine at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. Heike received numerous fellowships and awards, such as the 1st prize of the euRobotics Technology Transfer Award 2014.
Dr. Herman van der Kooij is a Professor of Biomechatronics at the University of Twente. He started as an assistant professor in the Department of Biomechanical Engineering in 2002 and was promoted to full professor in 2010. From 2008 he is also affiliated with Delft University of Technology, from 2011 as full professor. He was awarded with the prestigious VIDI and VICI personnel grants of the NWO (Dutch organization of scientific research) in 2001 and 2015, respectively. Dr. Van der Kooij is PI in numerous NWO projects in human-robot interaction, rehabilitation technology, and robotics for healthcare. In these projects he often collaborates with other Dutch Universities SME’s, and patient organizations. In particular, he initiated and coordinated the national program Wearable Robotics (2018-2023) in which five universities and more than 27 non-academic partners collaborate. Dr. Van der Kooij also founded the first national program in the world on Soft Robotics. This 4TU Soft Robotics (2018-2023) funds seven tenure trackers who are supported by seven postdocs. He received his MSc and PhD (cum laude) from the University of Twente.