Principle Investigator Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT
Stephen Sprigle is a Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology with appointments in Bioengineering, Industrial Design and the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.A biomedical engineer with a license in physical therapy, Sprigle directs the Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Lab (REARLab), which focuses on applied disability research and development. The REARLab’s research interests include the biomechanics of wheelchair seating and posture, pressure ulcer prevention, and manual wheelchair propulsion. Its development activities include standardized wheelchair and cushion testing and the design of assistive and diagnostic technologies. Sprigle teaches design-related classes in both the Schools of Industrial Design and Mechanical Engineering.
Sharon Sonenblum, PhD
Sharon Sonenblum is a Senior Research Scientist in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Dr. Sonenblum has been studying wheelchair seating and mobility for over a decade. Her work focuses on two primary areas: the use of assistive technology in everyday life, and tissue health and pressure injury prevention. Dr. Sonenblum has investigated how people use their power tilt-in-space wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, and more recently their power adjustable seat height wheelchairs in their everyday lives. Dr. Sonenblum’s work on tissue health has investigated tissue response to loading and weight shifts, and the role of weight shift behaviors in pressure injury development
Yogesh Deshpande is a Research Engineer in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. His current research focusses on using sensors, Bluetooth devices and mobile applications to better inform wheelchair users of their in-seat activity and help prevent pressure injuries. He also works on developing testing standards for wheelchair cushion performance under load, using pressure and deformation measurements in compliant gel models. These novel tests are meant to augment cushion design and testing, and help clinicians make informed decisions about a vital part of their patient’s life. His previous research experience is in the field of composite material testing at high speeds.
Jacob Misch, PhD Candidate
Jacob Misch is a doctoral candidate in the Bioengineering Graduate Program from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. His current research utilizes the Anatomical Model Propulsion System wheelchair-propelling robot to investigate how changes in the manual wheelchair configurations can influence the energetic cost of propulsion. The long-term goal of this research is to empower manual wheelchair users with knowledge of the compromises between configurations to help them make more optimal equipment selections.