WearRAcon Europe Keynotes:
Robert Riener is Full Professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich. He holds a Double-Professorship with the University of Zurich and is also active in the Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Balgrist University Hospital (Medical Faculty of the University of Zurich). Robert studied mechanical engineering at TU München and the University of Maryland (USA). He obtained his doctoral degree from the TU München in 1997. Since he began working in Zurich, he has developed robots and interaction methods for motor learning in rehabilitation and sports. His current research interests involve human motion synthesis, exoskeletons and other wearable robotics, biomechanics, virtual reality, man-machine interaction and rehabilitation robotics, along with being the founder and head of the Cybathlon. He authored and co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles and 20 patents. He is a member of several scientific societies (e.g., IEEE/EMBS, DGBMT/VDE, IFESS) and an associate editor of several scientific journals. For his development of the arm therapy robot ARMin, he was awarded with several prizes including the humanTech Innovation Prize and the Swiss Technology Award. He was awarded also with the IEEE TNSRE Best Paper Award 2010 and the euRobotics Technology Transfer Awards 2011 and 2012.
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. Marco Molinari (Neurologist, Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, PhD in Neuroscience) is the Director of Neurorehabilitation Translational Research and Neurorehabilitation Clinic 1 at IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome. The Department integrates Neuroscience research and clinical neurological rehabilitation units. The clinical ward is devoted to rehabilitation of patients with brain or spinal cord lesions in a multidisciplinary environment. Research activity is focused on brain plasticity mechanisms and functional recovery both at basic science and clinical levels. Basic science approaches in animal models as well as development and testing of new technological in humans characterize Dr Molinari research experience. In the last decade research activities mostly focused on robotics and human machine interactions applied to neurological rehabilitation.
Lars Fritzsche has completed a Diploma in Work- and Organizational Psychology at the Technical University of Dresden. From 2006 to 2009 he has worked as PhD Student at the Daimler AG Research Center in Ulm. His PhD thesis “Work Group Diversity and Digital Ergonomic Assessment as New Approaches for Compensating the Aging Workforce in Automotive Production” included a study on digital human model simulations in comparison to real-life ergonomic risk assessments. Since 2010 he is head of the ergonomic consulting division at imk automotive GmbH with currently 15 employees, who conduct a variety of industry and research projects with high-profile customers and partners. In 2017 he was named honorary Professor at the Technical University of Dresden, teaching “Ergonomics and Corporate Health Management”. One of his recent projects funded by the European Union is called “AnDy – Advancing Anticipatory Behaviors in Dyadic Human-Robot Collaboration”, and deals with modeling, simulating and optimizing the human-machine-interaction for cobots and exoskeletons in industrial use cases.
Diego Torricelli is the Head of Neuromotor Coordination Lab at the Neural Rehabilitation Group, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). His research interests are the understanding of motor control principles behind coordination, the development of quantitative metrics of motor performance, and the design of robot-assisted strategies for neural rehabilitation. He is the coordinator of the European Project EUROBENCH (http://eurobench2020.eu), member of the ISO Technical Committee on Robotics (TC299/WG4) and founder of the international community on Benchmarking Bipedal Locomotion (www.benchmarkinglocomotion.org). He organized several scientific activities, such as the Summer School on Neurorehabilitation (SSNR), the International Conference on Neurorehabilitation (ICNR), the International Workshop on (WeRob), and more than 20 workshops in the fields of neurorobotics, muscle synergies and benchmarking. He is co-author of more than 80 publications in peer reviewed journals and conferences. He was Associate Professor in the University Carlos III de Madrid and San Pablo CEU University.
I am an Associate Professor at the University of Twente where I direct the Neuromechanical Modelling & Engineering Lab. My team and I investigate the basic neuromuscular mechanisms underlying healthy and impaired movement. Our goal is to discover fundamental principles of movement at the interface between humans and wearable robots ultimately for enhancing human health. On these topics, I am PI of personal grants (e.g. ERC Starting Grant) and consortium-based projects (e.g. H2020-Innovative Training Network).
I conducted my PhD in Information Engineering at the University of Padova (Italy, 2009-2011) and was visiting scholar at the Universities of Western Australia (Australia) and Stanford (USA). I was a post-doc fellow at the University of Göttingen (Germany, 2012) where I become a Junior Research Group Leader in 2015. Since 2017 I am a tenure-track scientist. I am currently Associate Editor at the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering and was previously guest editor at IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering as well as at Frontiers journals. I am member of scientific societies including the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, the IEEE International Consortium on Rehabilitation Robotics, and the European Society of Biomechanics.
Edwin van Asseldonk is Associate professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente in Enschede, The Netherlands. The main aim of his research team is to improve the walking ability of persons with a neurological disease, like stroke or spinal cord injury. Hereby, he uses different technological interventions to either decrease impairments by using non-invasive electrical and mechanical stimulation and/or using rehabilitation robots for training or daily assistance. His approach consists of gaining a better understanding of the (distorted) human movement control and using this knowledge in the design and evaluation of novel robotic control algorithms.
Michael Heinrichs is serving on German Joint Support and Enabling Service since October 2006. He is Desk Officer in the Future Development branch German Joint Support and Enabling Service Headquarters since November 2016. In the Headquarters he is the point of contact for any thoughts and discussion regarding the topic of human performance enhancement. His focus is on the consideration and efforts of exoskeletons and their potential military applications in the future. His current military interest involves how to use exoskeletons to relieve soldier’s back strain, for example when lifting and carrying heavy objects.
Major Marco Dâmaso is an active duty officer in the Swiss Armed Forces since 1989 and currently works as a system portfolio manager for special units at the Swiss Armed Forces Planning Directorate. Furthermore, Marco is responsible for the development and implementation of the future soldier technologies as well as the soldier augmentation within the Swiss Armed Forces. After attending the Military Academy Marco served as an instructor in the Motorized Infantry School and in the Infantry Training Centre. Afterwards he worked for the “Army 21 reform program” to create and build up the Swiss Special Forces Command, where he was the head of training and R&D for the command for 14 years. During this time Marco initiated and conducted a field-test with a powered leg exoskeleton.