Mechanical engineering team wins Wyss-IEEE award for robotic leg prosthesis


Two mechanical engineering graduate students and their professor have received the Wyss Institute-IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Award for Translational Research for their work on a robotic leg prosthesis, selected from submissions by biomedical engineers and scientists from academic institutions worldwide.

Brian E. Lawson and Amanda M. Huff, with Michael Goldfarb, H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, earned the first place honor on their submission, “A Robotic Leg Prosthesis for Biomimetic Locomotion in Transfemoral Amputees,” which was presented during a ceremony on Aug. 30 at the 2012 international conference of the IEEE-Engineering and Biology Society in San Diego, Calif.


The award recognizes translational engineering projects with the potential for making a transformative impact on healthcare safety, quality, effectiveness, accessibility and affordability. The co-sponsor of the award is the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

Six finalists were invited to present in person to a panel of experts at the conference. After the presentations, the top three finalists – individuals or teams – received $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, and recognition of their achievement during the conference.

Goldfarb’s lab, the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, focuses on the design and control of electromechanical devices, with a particular emphasis on the emerging field of rehabilitation robotics. One of the lab’s projects is a powered transfemoral prosthesis that enhances mobility and reduces falls for lower-limb amputees. This technology has been licensed to Freedom Innovations, who plans to continue the development of this prosthesis and bring a version to the commercial market soon.