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North Carolina State University and
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News Bits

The Rehabilitation Engineering Core (REC) is a joint enterprise between two of the best universities in North Carolina; North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The strategy for the Core is to build onto the medical strengths of UNC-Chapel Hill and the engineering know-how of NC State. This initiative of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University and the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina is a state technical assistance, education and research center that evaluates, designs, develops, and promotes improved care and function for individuals with short and long term rehabilitation needs.

Recent Publications

Recent Happenings

Two Members of Dr Helen Huang's Lab have abstracts accepted for the BMES 2015 Annual Meeting in Tampa Fl.

Undergraduate, Matthew Conrad's abstract has been accepted for a poster presentation within the track "Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Engineering”
Abstract Title: An Investigation of the Positive Joint Power Distribution in Above-Knee (AK) Prostheses
Authors: Matthew Conrad, Ming Liu, Gregory Sawicki, He Huang

Postdoctoral Scholar, Dustin Crouch's abstract has been accepted for a poster presentation with the track "Device Technologies and Biomedical Robotics"
Abstract Title: Optimized Musculoskeletal Parameters For Predicting Multi-Joint Wrist And Hand Movement From Limited EMG Signals
Authors: D. Crouch, H. Huang

May 10, 2015  --Dr. Greg Sawicki's research featured in the Sunday edition of the Raleigh News and Observer. The article features his work on Ankle Exoskeletons and how the can effectively reduce energy spent during walking. This substantial energy savings can be extremely beneficial to someone recovering from Stroker or other muscle impairments as they go about their everyday activities. As Dr. Sawicki explained “A seven percent reduction in energy cost is like taking off a 10-pound backpack, which is significant,”  Please click here to read the article in its entirety.

BME faculty Dr. Gregory Sawicki's co-authored paper, "Reducing the energy cost of human walking using an unpowered exoskeleton," was published online in Nature on April 1, 2015.  The published results show that humans can get better gas mileage using an unpowered exoskeleton to modify the structure of their ankles, thereby reducing metabolic energy consumption by 7 percent below walking in normal athletic shoes.  The lightweight lower-leg device uses a spring and clutch system working in tandem with calf muscles and the Achilles' tendon while people walk.  It weighs approximately the same as a normal shoe and does not require battery power or other external fuel source.  "The unpowered exoskeleton is like a catapult. It has a spring that mimics the action of your Achilles' tendon, and works in parallel with your calf muscles to reduce the load placed upon them," said Dr. Gregory Sawicki, an NC State biomedical engineer and locomotion physiologist who co-authored the paper. "The clutch is essential to engage the spring only while the foot is on the ground, allowing it to store and then release elastic energy. Later it automatically disengages to allow free motion while the foot is in the air."

Dr. Sawicki co-authored the paper with Dr. Bruce Wiggin, a former NC State graduate student, along with Dr. Steven Collins from Carnegie-Melllon University.  To read more click here



Congratulations to Dr. Helen Huang
Director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Core (REC)

Please join us in offering Professor Helen Huang your warmest congratulations on her recent appointment as the director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Core (REC) at NC State and UNC. The REC, like BME itself, unites the University of North Carolina and NC State University in order to encourage and engender groundbreaking collaborative science between the two institutions. The Co-Interim Director of the Center, Dr. Rick Wysk, commented that Dr. Huang is the “perfect person for this opportunity.” Louis Martin-Vega, the Dean of NC State's College of Engineering, in addition to offering his congratulations, noted that he “looks forward to her leadership in this very special and unique effort in our College!” With her innovative research in the creation of neural-machine interfacing technologies, Dr. Huang is perfectly positioned and qualified to lead the Rehabilitation Engineering Center as it continues to prosper and grow. Congratulations to Helen on this exciting new step in her career!


The North Carolina State University Office of the Provost announced on November 22, 2013 that Dr. Greg Sawicki will be one of the 2013-2014 University Faculty Scholars. Dr. Sawicki was one of seven total nominees that the College of Engineering nominated for the prestigious awards—the most that the college was allowed to nominate for the program. Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering, Louis Martin-Vega, noted that the award was very well deserved and offered his sincere congratulations.

The University Faculty Scholars program was established in 2012 to reward excellence in early- and mid-career faculty at NCSU. To meet eligibility requirements, faculty members must be assistant professors who have been reappointed for a second term, associate professors, or full professors in their first three years serving at that rank. The program was designed as an effort by the university to invest in and retain high quality faculty members; it is funded through donations by Jim and Ann Goodnight and William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust. With this award, Dr. Sawicki will hold the title of University Faculty Scholar and receive a $10,000 annual supplement for the next five years to enhance his already outstanding work. Although only in its second year, Dr. Sawicki will be BME’s second faculty member to receive this prominent honor. Please join all of BME in offering Dr. Sawicki our sincere congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

To read more about the 2013 - 2014 class of University Faculty Scholars, please see the announcement on NCSU's Bulletin.



Dr. Greg Sawicki’s work was recently highlighted in the November 14thissue of Nature. This citation, from a journal in its 503rd volume of publication with a longstanding history of excellent scientific journalism, is a notable external recognition of the successful work emerging from Dr. Sawicki’s research program. The article by Peter Gwynne, part of a supplement all about the spine, overviews the state of robotic exoskeletons which give mobility to people with spinal cord injuries. The article notes that Dr. Sawicki’s work with ankle plantarflexors offers an innovative approach to regain movement for some patients who can stand but not walk after spinal cord injuries. By creating an elastic solution that extends the foot at the correct time during stepping, Dr. Sawicki’s work offers a way to facilitate movement that falls outside of complex and bulky robotic exoskeletons.

To read about Dr. Sawicki’s work and all the exciting developments at the intersection of spinal cord rehabilitation, robotics, and exoskeletons, read the full article, “Technology: Mobility Machines,” on Nature’s website:


BME Undergrad Jeffrey Powell Featured on WUNC Radio

"In case you missed it, there was a great interview on WUNC radio with BME senior Jeff Powell, who made a 3-D printed hand for local 7 year old boy Holden Mora.  Congratulations to Jeff for doing such a great job to help Holden, and this really shows the positive impact that we can have as biomedical engineers on the lives of other people.  Jeff also did a great job in the interview, although I have to admit that Holden steals the show"shares Richard Goldberg, Associate Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.

   The interview and story are here:




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