Conor Walsh, Ph.D.
Core Faculty Member
Conor is developing robotic devices that are specifically intended for interacting and cooperating with humans. His current research interests include new approaches to design, manufacture and control of wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies. He leads a team of researchers on the DARPA Warrior Web project to develop a soft exosuit that can assist with locomotion that can perform small levels of assistance to a wearer. The exosuit's function is based on a detailed understanding of human walking and is soft and pliable, unlike traditional exoskeletons that use rigid components. The long term goal is to develop fully portable wearable robots to assist the disabled and able-bodies and further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. His group is also working on the modeling and design of fluidic-based soft robotics for cardiac applications and applying emerging meso-scale manufacturing approaches to the design of smart medical tools for the minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment of disease. Given his broad interests in medical devices and robotics, he collaborates closely with Wyss staff in the Biorobotics and Anticipatory Medical and Cellular Devices platforms.
Conor is Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is also the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, medical and business communities to develop smart medical devices and translate them to industrial partners in collaboration with the Wyss Institute's Advanced Technology Team. His educational interest is in the area of medical device innovation where he mentors student design teams on projects with clinicians in Boston and in emerging regions such as India. Conor received his B.A.I and B.A. degrees in Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in 2003, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and 2010. He has been the recipient of over a dozen invention, entrepreneurship, and student mentoring awards including the MIT $100K business plan competition, Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship, and the MIT Graduate Student Mentor of the Year.