Keynote Speakers


joJoseph K. Hitt, Ph.D., Executive Director, Wearable Robotics Association

Dr. Hitt is recognized nationally as an expert in wearable robotic technologies and human systems. He has participated 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 the 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 GoX Studio, 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.


Homayoon-Kazerooni2Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni, Professor, University of California at Berkeley / Founder and Chief Scientist, suitX

Dr. Kazerooni is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he also serves as the director of the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. With more than 30 years of mechanical engineering experience and a doctorate degree from MIT, he is a leading expert in robotics, control sciences, exoskeletons, human-machine systems and augmentation, bioengineering, mechatronics design, intelligent assist devices, and power and propulsion. Prior to his more well-known research on lower extremity exoskeletons, Dr. Kazerooni led his team at Berkeley to successfully develop robotics systems that enhanced human upper extremity strength. The results of this work led to a new class of intelligent assist devices that are currently used by workers in distribution centers and factories all over the world. These intelligent assist devices are currently marketed worldwide by Ingersoll- Rand and Gorbel. Dr. Kazerooni’s later work has focused on the control of human-machine systems specific to human lower extremities. Dr. Kazerooni has won numerous awards including Discover Magazine’s Technological Innovation Award, the McKnight-Land Grant Professorship, and has been a recipient of the outstanding ASME Investigator Award. His research was recognized as the most innovative technology of the year in New York Times Magazine. He has served in a variety of leadership roles in the mechanical engineering community and is notably the editor of two journals: ASME Journal of Dynamics Systems and Control and IEEE Transaction on Mechatronics. A recognized authority on robotics, Dr. Kazerooni has published more than 200 articles to date, delivered over 130 plenary lectures internationally, and holds numerous patents.


Tom-LoobyTom Looby, President & CEO, Ekso Bionics

Tom Looby is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Ekso Bionics, where he is responsible for overseeing the operations of the company’s medical and industrial divisions. He joined Ekso Bionics in April 2014 as the company’s chief marketing officer, a role in which he led the development and execution of the company’s global rehabilitation marketing strategy. Prior to joining Ekso Bionics, Tom served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Given Imaging, now part of Medtronic, where he was responsible for worldwide market development for PillCam® capsule endoscopy and other novel diagnostics technologies.

General Speakers

Arun-headshotArun Jayaraman, PT, Ph.D., Director, Max Näder Center for Rehabilitation Technologies & Outcomes Research, and Research Scientist, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago / Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

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. 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.

Sunil AgrawalSunil K. Agrawal, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering & of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University

Dr. Agrawal is the Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory at Columbia University. He has published close to 400 journal and conference papers. He is a Fellow of the ASME and his honors include a NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House in 1994, a Bessel Prize from Germany in 2003, and a Humboldt US Senior Scientist Award in 2007. He is a recipient of the Best Paper award at the 35th ASME Robotics and Mechanisms Conference in 2011 and a Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference in Robotics and Automation in 2012. He has held positions as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Hanyang University in Korea and is currently a Professor of Robotics at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He actively serves on editorial boards of conferences and journals published by the ASME, IEEE, and other professional societies. Dr. Agrawal received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990.


Nicola Vitiello_webNicola Vitiello, Assistant Professor, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Nicola Vitiello received the PhD degree in Biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), on 2010. He is currently Associate Professor with The BioRobotics Institute, SSSA where he leads the Wearable Robotics Laboratory. He is the author or co-author of more than: 50 ISI/Scopus papers, 30 peer-review conference proceedings papers and 10 patents/patent applications. He has 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, the EARLYREHAB project funded by Regione Toscana, and the IUVO research project funded by a local bank Foundation, namely “Fondazione Pisa”. Currently he is the scientific project coordinator of the H2020-ICT-CYBERLEGs Plus Plus project, and partner of the H2020-ICT-AIDE and H2020-FoF-HUMAN projects. His interests include the development, experimental validation and maturation of novel wearable robotic devices for human movement assistance, rehabilitation and augmentation. He is the main co-founder of the spin-off company IUVO S.r.l.


QiningWang_webQining Wang, Ph.D., Professor, College of Engineering, Peking University, China

Dr. Qining Wang received the Ph.D. degree in dynamics and control from Peking University, China. He is currently a Professor in the College of Engineering, Peking University, the Vice-Director of the Center for Robotics Research, Peking University, and the Director of the Beijing Engineering Research Center of Intelligent Rehabilitation Engineering. He is the Project Leader of the wearable robots R&D Group in Peking University. He has authored/coauthored over 130 scientific papers in international journals and refereed conference proceedings. His research interests include bio-inspired robots and rehabilitation robotics. Dr. Wang received the Best Technical Paper Award at the 17th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR) in 2015 and the 18th International Conference on CLAWAR in 2016. He serves as a Committee Member of the IEEE Environmental and Safety Technologies Medal Committee, an Advisor of the IEEE-RAS Technical Committee on Wearable Robotics, an Associate Editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine and a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics.