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Innovation Challenge

WearRAcon 22


April  24 – 26, 2022

WearRAcon 22 – Innovation Challenge

WearRACon 22 Innovation Challenge

Wednesday, April 28, 2020 | 4:00pm – 5:00pm (EDT)

At our 2022 conference, six finalists successfully utilized the main stage to wow the audience with their creative ideas in a series of dynamic lightning pitches. Each person, team or small company had five minutes to present the background, need, and implementation of their ideas. The $5,000 grand prize for 2022 went to the team from XtremedX with their Temperature/Pressure Sensing Insole for Diabetics. The prize for ‘fan favorite’ went to the project entitled, “ExoBak Back Support” created by Mohammadmehdi Mortazavi, Industrial Designer.


Thank you to our esteemed panel of judges:


Marisol Barrero, Amazon Web Services
Marisol Barrero joined Amazon Web Services (AWS) as Global Ergonomics Manager in August 2021. Previously she worked for Toyota Motor North America Safety Group for almost 15 years. Most recently she managed the development and integration of safety-related technology and innovations across North American operations, which is a unique role that she started at Toyota. Before that she held the position of Regional Ergonomics Manager, where she managed a team of ergonomists to support Toyota’s 15 North American manufacturing facilities. Prior to 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. Marisol is involved in several external organizations. She is the co-founder and current Board member of the Automotive Exoskeleton Group (AExG), which is sponsored via the Wearable Robotics Association. She sits on the ASTM Exoskeleton Center of Excellence Research & Development Committee and is a member of F48, the first external standard on exoskeletons and exosuits. She is a regular speaker at various safety and technology conferences including Applied Ergonomics Conference, National Ergonomics Conference, and Enterprise Wearables Technology Summit.

Urs Schneider, M.D., Executive Director Europe, Wearable Robotics Association & IPA Fraunhofer
Dr. Schneider is recognized internationally as an expert in exoskeleton and prosthetics and orthotics technologies and biomechatronic research in respect to protection and treatment of the human musculoskeletal system. Urs Schneider has served in a variety of leadership roles in prosthetics & orthotics, rehabilitation and exoskeleton research committees in Europe and US. He serves as director of the health technology division at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart and manages the Biomechatronics department. He also serves as head of the Human Technology Interaction department at IFF, University of Stuttgart and teaches biomechatronics at Stuttgart University. With Tom Sugar and Joe Hitt he is the initiator of WearRACon Europe and the Exoworkathlon study format.



Christopher Beck, NASA Engineer
Mr. Christopher Beck is the lead of NASA – Johnson Space Center’s Wearable Robotics Laboratory, part of JSC’s HumanWorks initiative. He has worked at JSC in different capacities for twenty years. Since 2011, he has been working to develop wearable robotic solutions for space, medical, and industrial applications. Most recently, his efforts have been focused on developing countermeasures for crew health maintenance during future long distance spaceflight missions.



We are pleased to announce the following finalists of the Innovation Challenge.

1. ExoBak Back Support
Team: Mohammadmehdi Mortazavi, Industrial Designer

2. Head Motion Controlled Foldable Supplementary Robot Arm Exosuit for Construction Work: FSRA-Exosuit
Team: Dr. Bhivraj Suthar; Yejin Choi; and Dr. Seul Jung, Chungnam National University, South Korea

3. Temperature/Pressure Sensing Insole for Diabetics
Team: Carl Marshbanks; Dr. Andrew Clark; Becky Delegge; Prahaladh Paniyil; and Meredith Stegall, XtremedX

4. Variable Stiffness Orthosis
Team: Nikko Van Crey and Elliott Rouse, University of Michigan

5. Design and Development of Lower Extremity Soft Exoskeleton for Elderly Fall Prevention
Team: Mandar Pargaonkar; Valeria Andrade Pinto; Tamara Lorenz; and Manish Kumar, University of Cincinnati

6. REmotion: Make Remote Emotion Thinkable and Touchable by Neurohaptic Wearables
Team: Ker-Jiun Wang, University of Pittsburgh; Caroline Yan Zheng, Royal College of Art (UK); and Maitreyee Wairagkar, PhD, Imperial College London



WearRAcon 22 Winning Entry: XtremedX Temperature/Pressure Sensing Insole for Diabetics