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Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering hosts robotics experts

photos of Patrick Wensing, PhD, and Jim Schmiedeler, PhD.

The Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering at Indiana University School of Medicine is always looking for the next big breakthrough in the field of technology and medicine.

Recently, the center hosted Patrick Wensing, PhD, and Jim Schmiedeler, PhD.

Wensing is an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, where he directs the Robotics, Optimization and Assistive Mobility lab. He received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University in 2014 and completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Intitute of Technology in 2017. His research group at Notre Dame focuses on bringing new levels of mobility to autonomous robots and assistive devices.

Schmiedeler is a professor and associate department chair in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He received the PhD from The Ohio State University in mechanical engineering. Schmiedeler is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

During their visit, they presented some of the current projects they are working on.

“We presented our work aiming to make powered prostheses for lower-limb amputees easier to control,” said Schmiedeler. “Since these devices are powered, there has to be some control to determine how and when that power is used so that the prosthesis better serves the function that the individual using it desires.”

Their interest in being able to present at the center is that it will allow them to showcase their work in front of some of the leading experts in regenerative medicine.

“The Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering represents world-class expertise in wound care, healing and health following amputation, as well as clinical and research practice in the fields of prosthetics, which our engineering background is in,” said Schmiedeler. “We see an excellent opportunity to leverage the expertise of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering to inject analysis of wound health into our ongoing prosthesis modeling work that would bring a critical new perspective absent in most engineering models.”

With the expertise that the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering brings, collaborative efforts would also aim to improve prosthetic by helping improve residual limb health.

“We likewise seek to understand how the control of powered prostheses impacts limb health and the design of prosthetic sub-systems, such as vacuum suspension systems, said Schmiedeler. “Collaboration with the ICRME, their industry contacts, and their existing surgical collaborators could lead to the development of new powered prostheses that make use of the enhanced sensory capabilities enabled by targeted sensory reinnervation.”

Schmiedeler and Wensing explained how they hope their presentation at the center shows that their engineering models, while limited, do offer great potential to enhance the control of powered lower-limb prostheses and that there are novel strategies for control that balance more automated approaches with those that take input directly from the user to improve lower-limb prostheses functionality.

The hope is that Schmiedeler and Wensing’s work would lead to devices that will help many who have gone through a lower-limb amputation live a better life.

“We envision a future in which powered lower-limb prostheses sense what the user is doing, infer what the user intends to do, provide actuation that helps implement that intention and return sensory feedback to the user about what is happening,” said Schmiedeler. “This closed-loop approach allows sensory information to flow from both the user to the prosthesis and vice-versa to enhancing function
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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Marco Gutierrez

Communication Coordinator

Marco Gutierrez is a communications coordinator for the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he supports the Department of Surgery and the Office of Strategic Communications. Before joining the Office of Strategic Communications, Marco worked for...