March 8, 2021 – New paper published on IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Our paper entitled “Self-Aligning Mechanism Improves Comfort and Performance With a Powered Knee Exoskeleton” was published in the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time the efficacy of self-aligning mechanisms in improving comfort and performance with a powered exoskeleton. Experiments were conducted with 14 able-bodied subjects performing sit-to-stand transfers and a position tracking task with our powered knee exoskeleton with the self-aligning mechanism locked and unlocked. Our results demonstrate up to 15.3% increased comfort and 38% improved performance when the self-aligning mechanism was unlocked. The manuscript is available online at this link.
March 01, 2021 – Dr. Lenzi received the 2020 NSF CAREER Award
Professor Tommaso Lenzi has been awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award. The CAREER program is one of the NSF’s most prestigious award programs, offering 5 years of support to early-career faculty with the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. The research grant, entitled “Bio-inspired Multi-joint Design and Control for Efficient and Lightweight Wearable Robots” will provide new knowledge related to wearable robotics by using bio-inspired actuation systems that concurrently assist multiple joints, much like human muscles. Read more here.
January 29, 2021 – Jake George received the Translational Science 2021 Award
Jake George (former postdoctoral fellow, now faculty in PM&R and ECE at Utah) has received the 2021 ACTS Outstanding Trainee: Post-Doctoral Award, which will be conferred during the annual meeting of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS), co-supported by the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the PhRMA Foundation and Clinical Research Forum (March 30 – April 2, 2021).
November 20, 2020 – The Utah Lightweight Leg is in the News
The Utah Lightweight leg, developed by our lab, was featured in a health news story originally covered by IVANHOE and then several local TV news around the Country. You can watch the videos here, here, here, here, and here.
October 29, 2020 – Workshop on Robotic Leg Prostheses for the IEEE/RSJ IROS 2020
We have organized a virtual workshop on robotic leg prosthesis for the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2020). The goal of the workshop is to better understand and discuss the challenge in robotic leg prostheses. The workshop website presents a collection of invited talks from world-renown scientists and video demonstrations of some of the most advanced robotic-powered prostheses in the world.
September 05, 2020 – Our Prosthetics Research is Featured in the O&P Almanac
The O&P Almanac dedicated a full page of their September issue to talk about our work in powered prosthetics. The O&P Almanac is the most respected source for industry insight and association news in the orthotic and prosthetic industry. Featured topics include emerging technologies, coding and reimbursement education, premier meetings, people and businesses in the news, and industry modernization. You can read the article here.
July 22, 2020 – Our Adaptive Prosthesis Controller is Published on Science Robotics
Our paper entitled “Powered knee and ankle prosthesis with indirect volitional swing control enables level-ground walking and crossing over obstacles” is published in Science Robotics. In this study, we present an adaptive controller for powered knee and ankle prostheses that automatically adapts to the movements of the users giving them volitional control over foot clearance. Tests with three individuals with an above-knee amputation show that our new controller enables them to walk and cross over obstacles up to 20 cm tall. The link to the manuscript coming soon!
June 1, 2020 – Jake George joins the Bionic Engineering Lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow
Jake George, Ph.D., joins the Bionic Engineering Lab with a postdoctoral fellowship from the Utah Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Jake has a PhD from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah, where he worked with Dr. Greg Clark on bi-directional neural interfaces for individuals with upper-limb amputations. At the Bionics Lab, his work will merge neural engineering and AI to advance the performance of powered exoskeletons for individuals with lower-limb impairments.
May 21, 2020 – Data Descriptor published in Nature Scientific Data
We published the first openly available biomechanics dataset of 18 individuals with above-knee amputation walking at 5 different speeds. The full dataset, including raw marker data and processed kinetic and kinematic profiles, is free to download at this link. The peer-reviewed paper describing the data can be found at this link. This research was supported by the Department of Defense through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
May 1, 2020 – New paper published in the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and BionicsOur paper entitled “Design, Development, and Validation of a Self-Aligning Mechanism for High-Torque Powered Knee Exoskeletons” was published in the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics. In this study, we present a powered knee exoskeleton with a lightweight (190 g) and strong (~120 Nm) self-aligning mechanism. Human experiments show that even when intentional misalignments are introduced between the user and the exoskeleton, the spurious torques and forces on the user’s articulation are <0.5 Nm and <5N with >40Nm knee flex torque. The manuscript is available online at this link. The video accompanying the paper can be found here.
March 23, 2020 – New paper published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine
Our paper entitled “A Compact, Lightweight Robotic Ankle-Foot Prosthesis Featuring a Powered Polycentric Design” was published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine for the special issue on Wearable Robotics. In this study, we show that a polycentric design enables a lighter and more compact powered ankle than common monocentric design (1.3 kg with battery, electronics, and covers, 12 cm build height). Experiments with two individuals with below-knee amputation show the performance of the proposed design during walking and stair ascent. The manuscript is available online at this link. The video accompanying the paper can be found here.
March 7, 2020 – Presenting a Case Series on Our Powered Prosthesis at AAOP 2020 in Chicago
Tommaso Lenzi and Luksa Gabert will attend the 46th Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the America Academy of Orthetists and Prosthetists (AAOP 2020) to present our most recent work on powered prosthetics. The presentation will focus on the work described in the accepted abstract entitled “Stair ambulation with a lightweight powered knee and ankle prosthesis across functional classification levels: A case series”. The abstract, authored by Sarah Hood, Lukas Gabert, Minh Tran, and Tommaso Lenzi can be found at this link.
January 06, 2020 – Kai Pruyn joins the Bionic Engineering Lab with an ACCESS Fellowship
Kai Pruyn joins the Bionic Engineering Lab as an undergraduate student assistant. Kai has received the ACCESS Fellowship program at the University of Utah. ACCESS provides freshmen and transfer students, from a variety of backgrounds, with a supportive path into STEM degrees and careers. ACCESS welcomes all students who are committed to advancing gender equity in science and engineering. With a vision of greater inclusion, diversity, and accessibility across STEM fields, ACCESS works for students today and the workforce of tomorrow. Find more info on the ACCESS program here.
November 26, 2019 – Demonstrating our Bionic Leg at the Limb Difference Night at Microsoft City Creek Mall
The Bionic Engineering Lab will be at the “Limb Difference Night” a GAIA event hosted by Microsoft at the City Creek Mall (51 S. MAIN ST. SUITE 145). Alec, one of our study participants, will demonstrate the Utah Bionic Leg and be available to answer questions and curiosities about his experience with this new prosthesis technology. BE Lab members will show our power exoskeletons. Dr. Lenzi will participate in a panel discussion about limb difference and the impact of technology. You can find a flyer for the event here.
September 19, 2019 – New Research Grant from the National Institute of Health!
We have received a new $2.2M grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) entitled “Lightweight Powered Prosthesis for Above-knee Amputees”. The grant has been awarded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The goal of this project is to understand how a powered knee and ankle prosthesis can help individuals with above-knee amputations to transition from limited to full community ambulation. See media coverage here and here.
August 28, 2019 – Freethink Media Releases a Documentary about Our Work
This summer Feethink Media visited our lab to document the development of our advanced bionic leg prosthetics as part of their SuperHuman series. The video also tells the story of Alec, an inspiring person we have the pleasure to work with as we push the limits of bionics. You can read more here and watch the episode here
August 20, 2019 – New Research Grant from the NSF through the National Robotics Initiative!
We have received a new $1.2M grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) entitled “Muscle Ultrasound Sensing for Intuitive Control of Robotic Leg Prostheses”. The grant has been awarded through the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) and is a collaborative effort with Drs. Nicholas Fey and Kenneth Hoyt at the University of Texas at Dallas. The goal of this project is to make powered knee and ankle prostheses more intuitive and robust to use in real-world settings. To this end, we will integrate muscle ultrasound sensing in the adaptive control of our lightweight robotic prosthesis.
August 13, 2019 – Dante Archangeli and Grace Hunt win COE Fellowships and join the Bionic Engineering Lab
Dante Archangeli (Ph.D. student, College of Engineering Fellowship Awardee) and Grace Hunt (Ph.D. student, Campbell Fellowship Awardee) join the Bionic Engineering Lab to work on new projects related to the design and control of wearable robotic devices.
August 2, 2019 – Andy Gunnell wins UROP Scholarship
Congratulations to Andy Gunnell (undergraduate BE Lab member) for winning the UROP scholarship with a project titled: “Gait and balance analysis of amputees using an advanced prosthetic leg”.
July 3, 2019 – New paper published in the IEEE Sensors Journal
Our paper entitled “ Instrumented Pyramid Adapter for Amputee Gait Analysis and Powered Prosthesis Control” was published in the IEEE Sensors Journal. The instrumented pyramid can accurately measure up to 120Nm of torque and 2500N of force. It also integrates a 9-axis IMU to measure the orientation of the prosthesis in space and its accelerations. The sensor weighs only 150g including the electronic boards. The manuscript describing this work is available online at this link. The video accompanying the paper can be found here.
June 25, 2019 – Marshall Ishmael and Sarah Hood presenting at ICORR 2019 during the RehabWeek 2019
Marshall Ishmael will present our preliminary work on Hope, our lightweight powered hip exoskeleton, at ICORR 2019 in Toronto, Canada. His podium presentation will focus on the design of this novel exoskeleton and its preliminary validation for walking assistance in individuals with above-knee amputations. A video of the experiments can be found here. Sarah Hood will present the results of our pilot studies using Romeo and Juliet, our powered ankle and knee prosthesis, with limited community ambulators. For the first time, this study shows that a powered prosthesis has the potential to improve ambulation in elderly and dysvascular above-knee amputees. A video of the experiments can be found here.
May 20, 2019 – Minh Tran presenting at ICRA 2019
Minh Tran will present at ICRA 2019 on Juliet, our lightweight powered knee prosthesis. The presentation will focus on the modeling, implementation, and testing of the actively variable transmission system, which is the key technology enabling Juliet to match, for the first time, the weight of passive knee prostheses. The paper is available online at this link. The video submission can be found here.
May 12, 2019 – Justin Francis wins UROP Scholarship
Congratulations to Justin Francis (undergraduate BE Lab member) for winning the UROP scholarship with a project titled: “Power Polycentric Ankle”.
April 16, 2019 – Our research featured in the Spring Newsletter of the ME Department
Our research was on the cover of the Spring Newsletter of the Mechanical Engineering Newsletter. Find more info at this link.
March 27, 2019 – Invited Talk at WeraRAcon 2019
Dr. Lenzi will present on the design of the Utah Lightweight Leg and its preliminary validation with individuals with above-knee amputations at the Annual Conference of the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRAcom 19). The agenda of the meeting can be found at this link.
February 12, 2019 – New paper published in the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Our paper entitled “Design, Development, and Validation of a Lightweight Non-backdrivable Robotic Ankle Prosthesis” was published in the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. The manuscript preprint is available online at this link. The video accompanying the paper can be found here.
January 10, 2019 – New paper published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Our paper entitled “A Lightweight, Efficient Fully-Powered Knee Prosthesis with Actively Variable Transmission” and led by Minh Tran was published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters. The manuscript is available online at this link. The video accompanying the paper can be found here.
December 11, 2018 – Andy Gunnell wins UROP Scholarship
Congratulations to Andy Gunnell (undergraduate BE Lab member) for winning the UROP scholarship with a project titled: “Gait and balance analysis of amputees using an advanced prosthetic leg”.
October 24, 2018 – Hosting SKY’S THE LIMB-IT support group
We are excited to host SKY’S THE LIMB-IT, a support group helping amputees at any stage of their recovery adjust to living with an amputation and designed for people with amputations, family members, and caregivers. The support group meets monthly and is organized by Spencer Thompson from the amputee program at Sugar House Rehabilitation Clinic. Find more info about the meeting on this flyer.
October 4, 2018 – Our bionic leg research featured in PC Magazine
Our research on the bionic leg prosthesis was featured in a PC Magazine story entitled, “How Advanced Prosthetics Turned This Man Into an ‘Emerging Cyborg.” by S. C. Stuart. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more research videos!
September 22, 2018 – Hosting Professor Maurizio Porfiri from NYU
NYU Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Maurizio Porfiri will visit the Department of Mechanical Engineering and give a talk for our Distinguished Seminar Series. More details on the talk can be found here.
July 25, 2018 – Paper published in The International Journal of Robotics Research
Our paper entitled “Design, development, and testing of a lightweight hybrid robotic knee prosthesis” is now published in The International Journal of Robotics Research. The manuscript is available online at this link. More info on this project can be found here.
June 26, 2018 – Utah ExoKnee showcased at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
The Utah ExoKnee was among the few undergraduate engineering projects to be selected for the 2018 ASEE Annual Conference and Expositions. ASEE is committed to fostering the exchange of ideas, enhancing teaching methods and curriculum, and providing prime networking opportunities for engineering and technology education stakeholders such.
May 10, 2018 – Accepting applications for a paid summer internship in collaboration with Ottobock USA
Ottobock USA will sponsor a summer internship in collaboration with the Bionic Engineering Lab. This position is split time between the Ottobock SLC R&D facility and the Bionic Engineering Lab at the UofU. This unique opportunity provides the experience of working for the world leader in prosthetics coupled with cutting-edge academic research. More info and how to apply can be found here.
April 19, 2018 – Utah ExoKnee presented at Spring 2018 Design Day
Undergrad BELab members Abby, Nate, Polly, and Sergei will present and demonstrate the Utah ExoKnee, a powered exoskeleton for assistance and rehabilitation. Check it out here.
April 6, 2018 – Paper accepted to EMBC’18!
Our paper entitled “Preliminary analysis of positive knee energy injection in a transfemoral amputee walking with a powered prosthesis” was accepted to the 40th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’18) to be held at the Honolulu, HI, USA, July 17-21, 2018. Congrats Sarah!
March 22, 2018 – Invited Talk at WeraRAcon 18
Dr. Lenzi will present our ongoing research on the design and control of lightweight robotic prostheses for individuals with lower-limb amputations at the Annual Conference of the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRAcom 18). The invited talk will be part of the Breakout Session 8, Medical/Rehabilitation( Prosthetics).
January 16, 2018 – Research featured in the O&P Almanac
January 1, 2018 – Our YouTube Channel is online!
Our YouTube Channel is online! Check out our latest research videos here.
December 1, 2017 – Hosting Professor Kevin Lynch from Northwestern University
Neuroscience and Robotics Lab Professor Kevin Lynch will visit the Department of Mechanical Engineering and give a talk for our Distinguished Seminar Series. More details on the talk can be found here.
November 27, 2017 – Invited Seminar at Vanderbilt University
Dr. Lenzi will present our ongoing research on the design and control of lightweight robotic prostheses for individuals with lower-limb amputations at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Vanderbilt University on November 27, 2017.
October 30, 2017 – New Research Grant from the Department of the Defense!!!
Dr. Lenzi (PI) receives a new $985K grant from the Department of the Defense titled “Motorized Hip Orthoses to Improve the Gait Ability of Transfemoral Amputees”. The grant has been awarded through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, which aims to address the most significant gaps in care for leading burden of injury and loss of fitness for military duty by funding innovative, high-impact, clinically relevant research to advance optimal treatment and rehabilitation from musculoskeletal injuries sustained during combat and combat-related activities. See the news on O&P EDGE.
August 21, 2017 – Sarah Hood and Minh Tran join the Bionic Engineering Lab
Sarah Hood (PhD student) and Minh Tran (PhD student) join the Bionic Engineering Lab. Their bio and project info will be posted soon!
July 5, 2017 – Sharath Patlolla joins the Bionic Engineering Lab
Sharath Patlolla, BS student in Mechanical Engineering at BTIS Pilani (India), joins the Bionic Engineering lab for his bachelor thesis. Sharath will work on inertial measurement units and dead reckoning algorithms applied to smart prosthesis control and gait analysis.
June 15, 2017 – Paper accepted to IROS 2017!
Our paper entitled “Design, Development, and Bench-top Testing of a Powered Polycentric Ankle Prosthesis” was accepted to the 2017 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems that will be held in Vancouver on September 24–28, 2017. PDF and video will be posted soon!
May 17, 2017 – Ayana Beatty joins the Bionic Engineering Lab
Ayana Beatty, BS student in mechanical engineering and electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, joins the Bionic Engineering Lab as a Student Intern. Ayana’s work will support the ongoing research activities on the Powered Polycentric Ankle.
May 1, 2017 – Sergei Sarkisian joins the Bionic Engineering Lab
Sergei Sarkisian (ME student) joins the Bionic Engineering Lab as an undergraduate research assistant. Sergei will work on the design of a new powered exoskeleton.
April 25, 2017 – Paper accepted to ICORR 2017!
Our paper entitled “A Lightweight Robotic Ankle Prosthesis with Non-backdrivable Cam-based Transmission” was accepted to the 15th IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR 2017) that will be held in London on July 17-20. PDF and video will be posted soon!
April 19, 2017 – Invited Talk at WearRAcon 17
Dr. Lenzi will give an invited talk at the second annual conference of the Wearable Robotics Association (WearRA) that will take place on April 19 – 21, 2017 at the HYATT REGENCY PHOENIX. The invited talk will be part of the Breakout Session 6, Modular Wearable Robotics, and will focus on our research on lightweight powered prosthesis design.
April 7, 2017 – Hosting Professor Neville Hogan from MIT
MIT Mechanical Engineering & Brain & Cognitive Sciences Professor Neville Hogan will visit the Department of Mechanical Engineering and give a talk for our Distinguished Seminar Series. More details on the talk can be found here.
March 3, 2017 – Selected for podium presentation at Design of Medical Devices Conference (DMD 2017)
Our submission entitled “Hybrid Actuation Systems for Lightweight Transfemoral Prostheses” was among the few contributions selected for podium presentation at the Design of Medical Devices Conference (DMD 2017) that will take place in Minneapolis, MN, on April 10-13, 2017.
January 25, 2017 – Paper accepted to ICRA 2017!
Our paper entitled “Actively Variable Transmission for Robotic Knee Prostheses” was accepted to ICRA 2017. PDF and video will be posted soon!
January 6, 2017 – Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh, Lukas Gabert, and Marshall Ishmael join the Bionic Engineering Lab
Lukas Gabert (MS student), Marshall Ishmael (PhD student), and Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh (PhD student) join the Bionic Engineering Lab. Find more info on their projects and bios here.
January 1, 2017 – University of Utah Welcome New Assistant Professor Tommaso Lenzi
The University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is pleased to announce the arrival of assistant professor Tommaso Lenzi. Check out Tommaso’s interview on the Department of Mechanical Engineering website.