FOE Alumni News

  • Kathryn Uhrich
    Kathryn Uhrich
    Professor at Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey said:
    2 months, 3 weeks and 6 days ago
    Starting January 1, Kathryn Uhrich is taking a position at UC Riverside as Dean at the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Lixia  Zhang
    Lixia Zhang
    Lixia Zhang (JAFOE 2003) at University of California, Los Angeles, , said:
    3 months, 1 week and 5 days ago
    Some belated news from me: since 2010 I've been leading a NSF funded multicampus project on Named Data Networking (NDN), the design of a new Internet architecture.
    Here is the project website:
    The heart of today's Internet architecture is a simple, universal network layer (IP) which implemented all the functionality necessary for global interconnectivity. This "thin waist" was the key enabler of the Internet’s explosive growth, but one of its design choices is also the root cause of today’s Internet problems: The Internet was designed as a point-to-point communication network, so the only entities that could be named in its packets are communication endpoints (IP addresses). Recent growth in e-commerce, digital media, social networking, and smartphone applications has resulted in the Internet primarily being used as a distribution network. Solving distribution problems with a point-to-point communication architecture is complex and error prone. NDN retains the Internet’s hourglass architecture but evolves the thin waist to allow the creation of completely general distribution networks. The core element of this evolution is removing the restriction that packets can only name communication endpoints. As far as the network is concerned, the name in an NDN packet can be anything — an endpoint, a chunk of movie or book, a command to turn on some lights, etc. This conceptually simple change allows NDN networks to use almost all of the Internet’s well understood and well tested engineering properties to efficiently solve not only communication problems but also digital distribution and control problems.

    Last week we held the 2nd NDN Community meeting at UCLA,
    which was attended by over 100 people from 50-60 organizations around the world, showing the rapid growth of the NDN research and development community.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Gareth H. McKinley
    Gareth H. McKinley
    Gareth McKinley (USFOE 96) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, , said:
    3 months, 1 week and 5 days ago
    I became Vice-President of the US National Committee on Theoretical & Applied Mechanics (US/NCTAM) in 2015
    I was elected President of the US Society of Rheology in September 2015, and take office at the annual conference this Fall.
  • Barrett Caldwell
    Barrett Caldwell (2003 USFOE, 2006 GAFOE, 2007 USFOE, 2008 USFOE)
    Professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana said:
    3 months, 2 weeks and 4 days ago
    Rocket Surgery and Brain Science
    I am now in the final year of my Purdue University Faculty Scholar tenure, granted in 2011 (after my promotion to Professor of Industrial Engineering in 2010). Our research in the Group Performance Environments Research (GROUPER) Lab continues to be active and engaged in a variety of aerospace and healthcare projects. During 2015, I have served as PI and Project Lead for a Weather Technology in the Cockpit Project within the FAA's Center of Excellence for General Aviation Safety, Assurance and Sustainability (PEGASAS); participated in the research team for two linked NASA projects (BASALT and FINESSE) jointly funded by the Science and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorates; and most recently, celebrated as a member of a team awarded an AHRQ P30 grant and major philanthropic gift for a Center for Brain Care Innovation. One of my responsibilities for this Center will be the development of a "mission control" center applied to managing and improving real-time health outcomes for a major metropolitan city (with proposed expansions to national-level population health improvement).
  • Krystel Castillo
    Krystel Castillo (2015 US FOE)
    GreenStar Endowed Assistant Professor in Energy at The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas said:
    3 months, 2 weeks and 4 days ago
    Awards and Student Positions
    My research expertise is in two primary areas. The first is mathematical programming and optimization techniques for analyzing large-scale, complex systems under uncertainty. The second is in big data analytics, which has applications to renewable energy, aerospace/military industry, supply chain network design, and healthcare operations.

    Graduate and Post-doctoral positions:

    Post-doctoral and/or Ph.D. graduate research assistantships are available to work on Mathematical Programming and Optimization of Bioenergy Supply Chains. The research team will build a unified computational and theoretical scheme to enable the conversion of large quantities of biomass into marketable products (biofuels and biobased products). Refer to attachment for more information.

    Recent Awards:

    2015 - Krystel Castillo receives GreenStar Endowed Professorship in Energy (

    2014 and 2015 - Summer Faculty Fellowship, Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB, Dayton, Ohio.

    2015 - Faculty Award for Excellence in Research 2014, College of Engineering, The University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Kaustav Banerjee
    Kaustav Banerjee
    Professor at UCSB, Santa Barbara, California said:
    3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days ago
    Nature publishes UCSB's revolutionary tunneling transistor that defies fundamental limits
    The fundamentally new transistor employs atomically-thin semiconducting channel material and quantum mechanical band-to-band tunneling, operates at a supply voltage of only 0.1 V with high ON/OFF ratio, and lowers power dissipation by over 90% compared to the state-of-the-art silicon transistors.
  • Chad Bouton
    Chad Bouton
    Vice President, Advanced Engineering at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York said:
    3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days ago
    Chad Bouton, who formerly served as research leader at Battelle Memorial Institute, has joined The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research branch of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. He is now the vice president of advanced engineering and the managing director of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine. Please read more by clicking the link below.
  • Shantanu Chakrabartty
    Shantanu Chakrabartty (2014 JAFOE)
    Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri said:
    3 months, 2 weeks and 6 days ago
    Starting fall of 2015, Shantanu Chakrabartty is on the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis as a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. At Washington University his research area focuses on self-powered computing, sensing and communications with applications in biomedical engineering and hazard mitigation.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Christopher Wilcox
    Christopher Wilcox (2014 US FOE)
    Electrical Engineer at US Naval Research Laboratory, Albuquerque, New Mexico said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 1 day ago
    I was just recently promoted to Senior Member with the professional publishing society SPIE ( SPIE Senior Members are Members of distinction who will be honored for their professional experience, their active involvement with the optics community and SPIE, and/or significant performance that sets them apart from their peers.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Brigette Rosendall
    Brigette Rosendall
    Principal Engineer and Bechtel Distinguished Scientist at Bechtel National, Inc., San Diego, California said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 2 days ago
    NAPW Inducts Brigette M. Rosendall, Ph.D., Principal Engineer / Bechtel Distinguished Scientist at Bechtel National, Inc., Into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle
    I'm pleased to recognize Brigette with this important honor. Her perseverance, work ethic and leadership qualities are an inspiration to all women. The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honors Brigette M. Rosendall, Ph.D., as a 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle.
  • Jon Owen
    Jon Owen (2005 USFOE, 2006 JAFOE)
    Dorector of Operations Research at General Motors, Global R&D, Warren, Michigan said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 4 days ago
    Elected to 2016-2017 Board of Directors for the professional society Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) as VP of Practice.
  • Dennice Gayme
    Dennice Gayme (2013 US FOE)
    Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago
    Dr. Dennice Gayme, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering is one of thirty-seven early-career Johns Hopkins faculty members chosen to receive one of the university’s new Catalyst Awards program to catalyze their research and creative endeavors.
  • Hussam Mahmoud
    Hussam Mahmoud (2015 US FOE)
    Assistnat Professor and Dirctor of Structural Laboratory at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago
    New Ductile Fracture Models
    Resilient infrastructure is the ability of structural systems to withstand extreme natural or man-made hazards without complete collapse. It is therefore essential to develop accurate predictive models that can be used to quantify ductility in structural elements and components all the way up to and including failure. Current ductile fracture models are known to provide accurate results only under specific range of stress states. A new ductile fracture model under monotonic and cyclic loading has been developed by Dr. Mahmoud and his student, Huajie Wen, and have been verified against a large set of experimental data under a wide range of stress states. The developed model has shown to yield very accurate prediction, which will provide a substantial opportunity for a new set of failures in components or systems to be assessed. Two recent papers, Part I and Part II on the developed model have been published in the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics. The models have been successfully used to simulate system collapse in structures (please see the attached photo).
  • Apoorv Agarwal
    Apoorv Agarwal (2005 USFOE, 2006 USFOE, 2008 IAFOE)
    Principal at Ingineering Innovation, LLC, Durham, NC, said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago
    After a 16 year career in the Research & Advanced Engineering organization of Ford Motor Company and a year scaling-up a start-up, Dr. Apoorv Agarwal has founded a consulting practice focused on sustainability, alternative energy, new technology development and scaling-up small businesses. His practice, named Ingineering Innovation, LLC, identifies problems worth solving and uses a rigorous, systematic, systems engineering based methodology to develop defect-free solutions to those problems. Recent projects have focused on an innovative technology to convert natural gas into synthesis gas and waste into electricity & clean drinking water.
  • Siddharth  Suryanarayanan
    Siddharth Suryanarayanan (FOE 2011, 2015 GGCS)
    Associate Professor at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado said:
    3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago
    Sid Suryanarayanan was the sole recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Young Engineer Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power and Energy Society (PES).
  • Reginald DesRoches
    Reginald DesRoches (2009 CAFOE, 2004 GAFOE, 2002 USFOE)
    Karen and John Huff Chair and Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia said:
    3 months, 4 weeks and 1 day ago
    Inducted In UC Berkeley Civil & Environmental Engineering Department Academy of Distinguished Alumni

    Elected Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Received 2015 ASCE Charles Martin Duke Lifeline Earthquake Engineering Award - “For outstanding contributions to the development of new methods and approaches for seismic risk assessment of highway bridges and his leadership in lifeline earthquake engineering research and teaching.”
  • Thomas Albrecht
    Thomas Albrecht (1999 USFOE, 2000 GAFOE)
    Vice President of Engineering at Molecular Vista, Inc., San Jose, California said:
    4 months ago
    New Position
    As of Oct. 19, I will be leaving my position as a Fellow at HGST, A Western Digital Company, and moving to a start up company -- Molecular Vista, Inc. -- where I will serve as Vice President of Engineering and Product Development. Molecular Vista sells scanning probe microscopes that exploit a newly discovered technique called Photo-Induced Force Microscopy, which provides detailed infrared absorption spectra for identification of materials with nm-scale spatial resolution, opening up new possibilities for metrology and materials analysis.

    Note the new email address.
  • Brad Bebee
    Brad Bebee (2006 USFOE)
    CEO, Managing Partner at SYSTAP, LLC, Washington, District of Columbia said:
    4 months ago
    Launching GPU Accelerated Graph Platform at Super Computing 2015
    SYSTAP CEO and FOE alumni, Brad Bebee, will be launching the Blazegraph GPU platform at the NVIDIA Theater for this years Super Computing conference to be held in Austin, TX, Nov 16-19.

    Blazegraph GPU provides acceleration delivering 300X performance increase for graph queries. It is the first known platform for GPU acceleration for Graph Databases.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Yun Raymond Fu
    Yun Raymond Fu (2015 National Academy of Engineering US Frontiers of Engineering)
    Associate Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Fu Receives IEEE CIS Outstanding Early Career Award
    Associate Professor Y. Raymond Fu has been recognized by the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) as the awardee of 2016 IEEE CIS Outstanding Early Career Award, for contributions to neural computing, manifold learning, and visual intelligence.
  • Nirmal Keshava
    Nirmal Keshava (2011 US FOE, 2014 IAFOE)
    Senior Principal Informatics Scientist - Big Data Analytics at AstraZeneca, PLC, Waltham, Massachusetts said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Nirmal Keshava was recently elevated to Senior Member status in IEEE. He also served on a panel focused on standards at the recent 2015 IEEE Engineering and Medicine in Biology Conference in Milan, Italy and will co-chair an upcoming standards session at IEEE Healthcom in Boston, MA. He is also the co-chair for the life sciences in the IEEE Big Data Standards Initiative.
  • william carter
    william carter (2010 US Frontiers of Engineering)
    Director, Sensors and Materials Laboratory at HRL Laboratories, LLC, Calabasas, California said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Bill Carter was appointed Director of the Sensors and Materials Laboratory at HRL Laboratories, LLC. Beginning as Hughes Research Laboratories in 1948 HRL is currently co-owned by General Motors and The Boeing Company. At HRL, Bill leads a group of over 100 researchers, across new materials and structures for light-weight vehicles, specialty polymers and nanoscale coatings, physics-based battery diagnostics, IR sensing technologies, and compact inertial navigation and timing. He is continuing as director of Corporate Business, engaging companies outside of HRL’s core business in open innovation R&D at HRL.
  • Jeffrey Fullerton
    Jeffrey Fullerton (JAFOE 2014)
    Principal Consultant at Acentech, Cambridge, Massachusetts said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Jeffrey Fullerton was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA by the Board of Directors. The honor was bestowed "For outstanding professional noise control engineering consulting services for a wide range of mechanical equipment serving the built environment, service to INCE /USA as Director, Vice President, and board certified member, and teaching noise control principals to architectural students."
  • Diane Bailey
    Diane Bailey (1995 USFOE, 1998 GAFOE)
    Associate Professor at UT Austin, Austin, Texas said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    MIT Press book on engineering work and technology
    This year, I published a MIT Press book with Paul Leonardi titled, Technology Choices: Why Occupations Differ in Their Embrace of New Technology. Drawn from a decade's worth of intense fieldwork in three engineering occupations (automotive engineering, hardware engineering, and structural engineering), the book shows how occupational factors such as product liability, government regulation, product complexity, and the rate of knowledge change in a profession shape engineers' choices of when and how to employ advanced new computational, graphical, and logical technologies for design and analysis. We consider three choices in particular: what tasks to allocate to computers, whether or not to automate any part of design and analysis, and whether or not to use technology to aid remote work arrangements such as offshoring. Detailed descriptions of engineers at work illustrate and provide support for our argument that occupational factors (and not the technology itself or the organizations in which engineers work) strongly shape technology choices.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Brian Thurow
    Brian Thurow (2013 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium)
    W. Allen and Martha Reed Associate Professor at Auburn University, Auburn University, Alabama said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Dr. Brian Thurow recently received the AIAA Konrad Dannenberg Educator of the Year Award. This award is presented to a AIAA section member in recognition of outstanding service to education and promotion of math and science within the community. The award was presented to Dr. Brian Thurow at the 2015 AIAA-Greater Huntsville Area Annual Installation and Awards Dinner held in May.
  • Annie Kammerer
    Annie Kammerer
    Owner at Annie Kammerer Consulting, Rye, New Hampshire said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Dr. Annie Kammerer has formed a new consultancy focused on natural hazard and risk assessments for nuclear facilities. The new firm Annie Kammerer Consulting is currently working on a range of projects for the Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory developing guidance and methodology for the next generation of risk assessment tools to be applied to risk reevaluation of US nuclear facilities against seismic and flooding hazard. The founder, Annie Kammerer, is formerly of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Bechtel Engineering, and Arup Energy.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Garrick Louis
    Garrick Louis (2001 GAFOE)
    Associate Professor at University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Selected by the National Academies as a 2015-16 Jefferson Science Fellow at the US Department of State.
  • Aydogan Ozcan
    Aydogan Ozcan (NAE FOE)
    Professor at UCLA, Los Angeles, California said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Dr. Ozcan has received the Microscopy Today Innovation Award in 2015 for his contributions to computational wide-field imaging.
  • Aydogan Ozcan
    Aydogan Ozcan (NAE FOE)
    Professor at UCLA, Los Angeles, California said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    The World Economic Forum selected my start-up company (Holomic) among the Technology Pioneers 2015 - among the most promising 49 early-stage companies in the world.
  • Mona Jarrahi
    Mona Jarrahi (2012 US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium)
    Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California said:
    4 months and 1 day ago
    Prof. Jarrahi receives Lot Shafai Mid-Career Distinguished Achievement Award from IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society for her pioneering contributions to plasmonic antennas and optical phased arrays for terahertz and microwave systems.
  • Warren Grill
    Warren Grill (2007 GAFOE, 2008 JAFOE)
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Javits Award
    Warren Grill, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology at Duke University, was awarded a Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which is an arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Javits Award is a four-year grant that can be extended to seven years that is given to scientists for their “superior competence and outstanding productivity,” and it “provides long-term support to investigators with a history of exceptional talent, imagination, and preeminent scientific achievement.” The award will allow Grill to pursue research to understand and advance deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Jeff Karp
    Jeff Karp (2007 USFOE)
    Associate Professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    An inflammation-targeting hydrogel for local drug delivery in inflammatory bowel disease.

    published in Science Translational Medicine
  • Jeff Karp
    Jeff Karp (2007 USFOE)
    Associate Professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Boston Business Journal 40 under 40
  • Christopher Bettinger
    Christopher Bettinger (2011 US FOE, 2014 IAFOE)
    Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Christopher Bettinger publishes a review paper on materials for ingestible electronics. This work was published in "Trends in Biotechnology" where it was the 3rd most popular article ever in TiB (according to the editors). It was also covered in Popular Science (link below).
  • Pedro  Domingos
    Pedro Domingos (2007 USFOE)
    Professor at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    I just published the first-ever popular science book on machine learning, entitled "The Master Algorithm". It explains to a broad audience how computers learn from data, by emulating the brain or evolution, or using symbolic, analogical or Bayesian methods. The eponymous Master Algorithm is the synthesis of these five paradigms into a grand unified theory of learning - a single algorithm capable of learning anything from data. The book also discusses the current and future impacts of machine learning on science, technology, business and society. And hopefully it's fun to read!
  • Kathryn Ann Whitehead
    Kathryn Ann Whitehead (2015 US FOE)
    Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Kathryn Whitehead, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, has been named by Popular Science as a 2015 Brilliant Ten winner for her innovative work on drug delivery systems. - See more at:
  • Jodie Lutkenhaus
    Jodie Lutkenhaus (2015 GAFOE)
    Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Lutkenhaus Demonstrates Flexible Battery Electrodes in Scientific Reports
    GAFOE alumni Jodie Lutkenhaus and her collaborator Rafael Verduzco describe their most recent discoveries on flexible battery electrodes in the journal Scientific Reports. The Texas A&M - Rice University collaborators demonstrate that a conductive block copolymer simultaneously enhances mechanical and electrochemical performance to yield a robust electrode.

    This work was highlighted in the following websites:
  • Frances Arnold
    Frances Arnold (first one)
    Dickinson Professor of Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry at Caltech, , said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Frances Arnold is now the Chairman of the Advisory Panel that selects new Packard Fellows in Science and Engineering. Over the past 27 years, the Packard Foundation has provided more than $350M in research funding to more than 500 faculty at an early stage in their careers. Frances is also a judge for the Queen Elizabeth Prize in Engineering and hopes to see FOE alumni win this prize.
  • Charles Alpert
    Charles Alpert (2010 USFOE)
    Group Directory at Cadence Design Systems, Austin, Texas said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Call for Participation at DAC
    The Design Automation Conference (DAC) is recognized as the premier conference for design and automation of electronic systems. DAC offers outstanding training, education, exhibits and superb networking opportunities for designers, researchers, tool developers and vendors.

    This year I (Chuck Alpert) will serve as general chair of the conference, which will take place from June 5-9, 2016 in Austin, TX. If you are interested in speaking or participating, contact me at



    Posted on: Alumni News

  • Ritesh Agarwal
    Ritesh Agarwal (NAE-CAE FOE, Beijing 2013)
    Professor at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
  • Ram  Devanathan
    Ram Devanathan (2005 USFOE, 2007 GAFOE)
    Technical Group Manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Ram Devanathan has been inducted into The Order of the Engineer and selected as a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society. He is currently the Technical Group Manager of the Reactor Materials and Mechanical Design group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.
  • Christopher Geiger
    Christopher Geiger (2015 US FOE)
    Enterprise Test Solutions Chief Engineer at Lockheed Martin, Orlando, Florida said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Hardware-Based Whitelisting for Automated Test System Cybersecurity and Configuration Management
    I'm presenting a paper on a hardware-based whitelisting tool called DUTCH for cybersecurity and configuration management at IEEE AUTOTESTCON (November 2-5 at National Harbor, MD). I implemented it in an Automated Test System environment but it can be used in other systems for remote security/configuration management and whitelisted trusted execution.

    We'll be in booth 217 in the exhibitor hall.
  • Gregory Pottie
    Gregory Pottie (German-American Workshop on FOE (1998))
    Professor at UCLA EE Department, Los Angeles, California said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    In July, Prof. Greg Pottie was appointed Chair of the UCLA Electrical Engineering Department. He has prior administrative experience, having served from 2003-2009 as the Associate Dean for Research and Physical Resources, and previously in vice chair roles. Since then, he led a major revision of the undergraduate curriculum to emphasize hands-on design experiences and created a successful Tech Camp program for introducing high school students to engineering. Priorities as Chair include enhanced outreach to explain and demonstrate the importance of Electrical Engineering, enrichment of the program through skills training and internship opportunities, and a redesign of the methods of engagement with alumni and industry.


    Posted on: Alumni News

  • He (Helen)  Huang
    He (Helen) Huang (2015 US FOE)
    Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    We have developed a novel control algorithm that can automatically tune the prosthesis control to provide personalized assistance to individuals with lower limb amputations. The research has been published on Annals of Biomedical Engineering. The research news has been features on NSF front page recently.

    Below is the full story reported at

    When amputees receive powered prosthetic legs, the power of the prosthetic limbs needs to be tuned by a prosthetics expert so that a patient can move normally – but the prosthetic often needs repeated re-tuning. Biomedical engineering researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have now developed software that allows powered prosthetics to tune themselves automatically, making the devices more functionally useful and lowering the costs associated with powered prosthetic use.

    “When a patient gets a powered prosthetic, it needs to be customized to account for each individual patient’s physical condition, because people are different in size and strength. And that tuning is done by a prosthetist,” says Helen Huang, lead author of a paper on the work and an associate professor in the biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. “In addition, people are dynamic – a patient’s physical condition may change as he or she becomes accustomed to a prosthetic leg, for example, or they may gain weight. These changes mean the prosthetic needs to be re-tuned, and working with a prosthetist takes time and money.”

    To address this problem, the researchers developed an algorithm that can be incorporated into the software of any powered prosthesis to automatically tune the amount of power a prosthetic limb needs in order for a patient to walk comfortably. The algorithm would not only make it easier for patients to walk while reducing prosthetist-related costs, but would also allow a prosthesis to adjust to changing conditions. Video of the technology in action can be seen here.

    “For example, the algorithm could provide more power to a prosthesis when a patient carries a heavy suitcase through an airport,” Huang says.

    The system works by taking into account the angle of the prosthetic knee while walking.

    Powered prosthetic legs are programmed so that the angle of the prosthetic joints – the knee or ankle – while walking mimics the normal movement of the joints when an able-bodied person is walking. During the conventional prosthetic tuning process, a prosthetist adjusts the powered prosthesis’s system so that it exerts the power necessary to recreate those normal joint motions while walking.

    But changes in a person’s weight, or gait, can affect the prosthesis’s ability to achieve that “natural” joint angle.

    The automatic-tuning algorithm takes a similar approach, tracking the angle of the prosthetic joint while walking. But it is able to adjust the amount of power the prosthesis receives in real time, in order to maintain the proper angle.

    “In testing, we found that the computer – using the algorithm – performed better than prosthetists at achieving the proper joint angle,” Huang says. “So we know our approach works. But we’re still working to make it better.

    “Prosthetists rely on years of experience to not only adjust the joint angle, but to adjust a prosthesis to help patients maintain a comfortable posture while walking,” Huang adds. “We’re not yet able to replicate the prosthetist’s success in achieving those comfortable ‘trunk motions,’ but it’s something we’re working on.”

    The paper, “A Cyber Expert System for Auto-Tuning Powered Prosthesis Impedance Control Parameters,” is published in the journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering. The paper was co-authored by Dustin Crouch, Ming Liu, Gregory Sawicki and Ding Wang, of the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grants 1361549, 1406750, and 1527202.


    Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

    “A Cyber Expert System for Auto-Tuning Powered Prosthesis Impedance Control Parameters”

    Authors: He Huang, Dustin L. Crouch, Ming Liu, Gregory S. Sawicki and Ding Wang, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Published: Sept. 25, Annals of Biomedical Engineering

    DOI: 10.1007/s10439-015-1464-7

    Abstract: Typically impedance control parameters (e.g. stiffness and damping) in powered lower limb prostheses are fine-tuned by human experts, which is time and resource intensive. Automated tuning procedures would make powered prostheses more practical for clinical use. In this study, we developed a novel cyber expert system (CES) that encoded human expert (HME) tuning decisions as computer rules to auto-tune control parameters for a powered knee (passive ankle) prosthesis. The tuning performance of CES was preliminarily quantified on two able-bodied subjects and two transfemoral amputees. After CES and HME tuning, we observed normative prosthetic knee kinematics and improved or slightly improved gait symmetry and step width within each subject. Compared to HME, the CES tuning procedure required less time and no human intervention. Hence, using CES for auto-tuning prosthesis control was a sound concept, promising to enhance the practical value of powered prosthetic legs. However, the tuning goals of CES might not fully capture those of the human expert. This was because we observed that HME tuning reduced trunk sway, while CES sometimes led to slightly increased trunk motion. Additional research is still needed to identify more appropriate tuning objectives for powered prosthetic legs to improve amputees’ walking function.
  • Cyrus  Shahabi
    Cyrus Shahabi (2005 USFOE, 2011 JAFOE)
    Professor at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    See my recent article on the future of driverless cars:
  • Andrei Fedorov
    Andrei Fedorov (2006 USFOE)
    Woodruff Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Our group accomplishments were featured in news releases:

    “Smart Hydrogel Coating Creates “Stick-Sleep” Control of Capillary Action”(“stick-slip”-control-capillary-action)

    “Disappearing Carbon Circuits on Graphene Could Have Security, Biomedical Uses” by Georgia Tech (

    “Nine Georgia Tech-Emory Biomedical Projects Received Coulter Foundation Funding: Teams Chosen to Receive Funding to Accelerate Commercialization of Medical Technologies Invented in their Labs” (
  • SHaochen Chen
    SHaochen Chen (2015 us-china FOE)
    Professor at University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    Dr. Shaochen Chen 3D-printed micro-fish that can swim, then sense and remove toxins
  • Michael McAlpine
    Michael McAlpine (2011 US FOE)
    Associate Professor at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    We have developed a 3D printed anatomical nerve guide that helps regrow complex nerves after an injury.
  • Bahram  Javidi
    Bahram Javidi (Frontiers of Engineering sponsored by NAE and AvH)
    Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut said:
    4 months and 2 days ago
    The 2015 Prize for Applied Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics is awarded to Prof. Bahram Javidi, Professor at the University of Connecticut, US. The Prize is awarded to Professor Javidi “For pioneering contributions to information optics, including 3D imaging, 3D displays, and 3D imaging of photon starved scenes.”