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.