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Conor Walsh named 1 of MIT Technology Review's 'Innovators under 35'

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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IMAGE: Conor Walsh is Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Harvard SEAS and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute. view more

Credit: (Photo by Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS.)

Conor Walsh, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Core Faculty member at Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, has been recognized as one of the world's top innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review.

The list honors exceptionally talented technologists whose work has potential to transform the world. Walsh was chosen for his field-leading research in biotechnology and medicine, specifically his development of soft, wearable robotic systems.

Among his projects is a soft exosuit that mimics and complements the action of leg muscles and tendons. The device, made from innovative textiles, is designed to help soldiers walk long distances with heavy loads and to help stroke victims regain mobility. Walsh and his team - in collaboration with Robert J. Wood, the SEAS Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Wyss Core Faculty member, and George Whitesides, a Wyss Core Faculty member and the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University - are also developing a soft robotic glove that mimics how the human hand contracts, extends, bends, and twists, to help in rehabilitation or provide a person with disabilities assistance in daily life.

"Our motivation for working on soft wearable robots is that we believe that significant functional improvements can be attained when delivering small to moderate levels of assistance with lightweight, flexible and non-restrictive devices," Walsh said. "Such systems will be most suitable for enhancing the ability of healthy individuals or patients with only partial impairments. Most exciting is that this technology will hopefully be suitable for use outside of a clinical environment, thus extending care to the home or community."

Walsh joins a prestigious group of past honorees, including SEAS and Wyss colleague Robert Wood; former SEAS student and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; SEAS colleague Donhee Ham, who is the Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Applied Physics, former Wyss Postdoctoral Fellow Megan McCain, PhD'12, who is now Assistant Professor at University of Southern California; and former Wyss graduate student Tak-Sing Wong, who is now Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University.

"Over the years, we've had success in choosing young innovators whose work has been profoundly influential on the direction of human affairs," said Jason Pontin, editor in chief and publisher of MIT Technology Review. "We're proud of our selections and the variety of achievements they celebrate, and we're proud to add Conor Walsh to this prestigious list."

The honorees are featured on http://www.technologyreview.com, in the Sept/Oct print issue of MIT Technology Review, and will appear at the upcoming EmTech MIT conference November 2-4 in Cambridge, MA.

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PRESS CONTACTS

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applies Sciences

Leah Burrows, lburrows@seas.harvard.edu, +1 617-496-1351

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

Benjamin Boettner, benjamin.boettner@wyss.harvard.edu, +1 917 913-8051

Kat J. McAlpine, katherine.mcalpine@wyss.harvard.edu, +1 617-432-8266

The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences serves as the connector and integrator of Harvard's teaching and research efforts in engineering, applied sciences, and technology. Through collaboration with researchers from all parts of Harvard, other universities, and corporate and foundational partners, we bring discovery and innovation directly to bear on improving human life and society.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University uses Nature's design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world. Wyss researchers are developing innovative new engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing that are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and formation of new start-ups. The Wyss Institute creates transformative technological breakthroughs by engaging in high risk research, and crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers, working as an alliance that includes Harvard's Schools of Medicine, Engineering, Arts & Sciences and Design, and in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston University, Tufts University, and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, University of Zurich and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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