Hall of Fellows

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Fellow Martin Ferguson-Pell

Martin Ferguson-Pell, PhD

Born: 11th September 1950, Luton UK

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.