Goldfarb among 10 electronics visionaries to watch: EE Times

Michael Goldfarb

Michael Goldfarb is one of 10 visionaries profiled by EE Times magazine in its December 2012 edition, Envisioning 2013.

Goldfarb, H. Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt, is among a group of eight humans, an avatar and a wireless networks center at MIT (with two human directors).

The cover story – 10 electronics visionaries to watch – was written by R. Colin Johnson, a veteran electronics journalist and author, who says those featured are “going where no one has gone before.”

Goldfarb, the director of the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, is cited for “pioneering smart prosthetics that use micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) chips to sense orientation and microcontrollers to mimic the natural actions of human limbs. His crown jewel, so far, is a smart prosthetic leg driven by two motors–one for the knee joint and one the ankle joint–resulting in accurate motion control that restores a range of motion comparable to that of real legs.

The key to smart prosthetics, according to Goldfarb, is algorithms that anticipate the next step. His first recipient, 16-year old Craig Hutto who made national headlines fighting off a shark attack during a trip to the Gulf Coast in Florida, but lost his leg in the process, now says his biggest problem is getting his natural leg to keep up with the pace set by Goldfarb’s bionic leg.

Freedom Innovations has licensed Goldfarb’s design, which aims to revolutionize smart prosthetics. Goldfarb is also working on smart powered exoskeletons that restore a normal gait to patients with spinal cord injuries.”

Other visionaries are David Shepler, Dharmendra Modha and Leo Gross at IBM, Stan Williams, HP; Tony Fadell, Nest; Steve Nasiri, Ivensense; Rodney Brooks, Rethink Robotics; the avatar “Lucy” from Creative Virtual; and Wireless@MIT (a center for wireless networks and mobile computing under the direction of engineering professors Dina Katabi and Hari Balakrishnan).

EE Times is an electronics industry magazine published in the United States by UBM Electronics, a division of United Business Media. For more than 40 years, EE Times has been the electronics industry newspaper of record for design and development engineers and technical managers.