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Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD
Born: 11th September 1950, Luton UK

photo of Martin Ferguson-Pell

  • Entry into the AT field:
         1974 Masters Project related to measuring interface pressures for pressure ulcer prevention

  • How I got into the field
         BSc Physics, PhD Biomedical engineering. Research for PhD related to interface pressure measurement

  • Important event(s) that influenced my early decision to get into the assistive technology field
         A summer internship at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in 1975

  • Why I chose the AT field
         I love building links between conventional physical sciences and problems related to disability.

  • My inspiration and mentor
         Robert Kenedi, Head Bioengineering Unit at Strathclyde University, Glasgow UK and Jim Reswick, Director Rehabilitation Engineering Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, CA, USA.

  • Why the field is important to me and the central focus of my work
         Problems are very challenging both scientifically and socio-economically

  • My memorable successes and greatest contributions to the field
         Attempt to build the first expert system in rehab (CUSHFIT) for supporting wheelchair cushion assessment and helping to establish the Center for Rehabilitation Technology at Helen Hayes Hospital. Such a great team of change agents!

  • My most memorable failures
         You can always learn so I don't see them as failures, just challenges.

  • Significant changes and advances in the field since I first entered it
         The role of clinical professionals in the delivery of rehabilitation technology services, FES, gait analysis, Aug Comm., pressure mapping, accreditation (ATP), using MRI in our field. They have changed attitudes in society to what people with disabilities can accomplish.

  • On the future of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology
        A new wave of technology development to support seniors aging in place

  • My role within RESNA and what it gave back to me
         Pivotal role in putting the science and engineering into the field

  • On the future of RESNA
         Creating a new emphasis on innovative and AT science to support aging population

  • My suggestions for those just entering the field
         Go for it, work hard, be persistent, keep striving for goals slightly out of reach. Keep the user and their family at the center of your thinking.