the team

Kinea Design's core team includes university researchers with a track record of successful technology transfer, working with a dedicated staff of experienced and efficient full-time engineers. The Kinea Design team is expanded by a network of consultants in several fields of engineering, as well as clinicians who are centrally involved with our biomedical projects. Our core+consultant structure allows us to take on large projects and produce timely results, while remaining at heart a small agile company.

Michael Peshkin, Ph.D., President and co-founder of Kinea Design, is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. His research is in robotics and human-machine interaction. Peshkin has co-founded three spin-offs: Mako Surgical, Inc. (image guided surgery), Cobotics, Inc. (assistive devices for materials handling) and Kinea Design.
J. Edward Colgate, Ph.D., co-founder of Kinea Design, is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. Colgate's research is in human-robot interaction. He has worked extensively in haptic interface and teleoperation, and he, along with collaborator Michael Peshkin, is the inventor of a class of collaborative robots known as “cobots.” He is also a co-founder of Cobotics, Inc. (assistive devices for material handling), and is a board member of Methode Electronics, Inc. (automotive electronics). Dr. Colgate is the founding editor of IEEE Transactions on Haptics. He is currently the co-director (with Don Norman) of the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University.
David A. Brown, P.T., Ph.D., co-founder of Kinea Design, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences and in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University. Prior to Northwestern he worked as a Research Health Scientist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. He combines his clinical background as a physical therapist with his extensive academic preparation in his role as an educator and a scientist. Dr. Brown is a named inventor on four patents and has authored many articles in peer reviewed journals, such as Brain, Journal of Neurophysiology, Stroke, and Physical Therapy. He has received funding for research by National Institutes for Health, Department of Education, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Foundation for Physical Therapy.
Julio J. Santos-Munné, M.S., Director of Engineering/Operations, has been with Kinea Design since its inception in 2003. Mr. Santos-Munné began his career as an entrepreneur co-founding Z-KAT, Inc. (now Mako Surgical) a surgical robotics company. His work as a masters student became core intellectual property for Z-KAT. As Director of Engineering for Z-KAT he generated multiple patents for the company. Mr. Santos-Munné joined Cobotics where he was product development manager for a modular multiple-axis distributed system for the material handling and automobile assembly industry. Mr. Santos-Munné also had a major role in the mechanical design of the entire Cobotics product line. Mr. Santos-Munné has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and a B.S. in Mathematics/Computer Science from the University of Notre Dame, and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.
Alexander Makhlin, M.S., Senior Controls Engineer, has been with Kinea Design since its inception. Mr. Makhlin's engineering career began at MPC Products Corporation where he developed software and hardware for precision motion control systems in aerospace applications. His roles ranged from R&D and design engineering to testing and manufacturing automation. While at MPC, Mr. Makhlin developed and patented a novel control system for a prototype of independently operated flight control sticks. Mr. Makhlin was Senior Project Engineer at Cobotics, where he designed a real-time distributed re-configurable control system for a new class of intelligent assist devices in automotive assembly applications. He has also developed manufacturing and testing systems and co-authored several patents. Mr. Makhlin has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Eric L. Faulring, Ph.D., Design and Controls Engineer, has worked with the Kinea Design team since 2006. He received his Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. in 2005 from Northwestern University and his Mechanical Engineering B.S. in 2000 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His doctoral thesis focused on the design, control and analysis of a novel haptic display titled the Cobotic Hand Controller. The device serves as a six-degree-of-freedom joystick which provides force and motion feedback to the operator. The Cobotic Hand Controller has one of the broadest dynamic ranges of any haptic display, enabling it to display very stiff surfaces or simulate complete freedom of motion.
Ela Lewis, M.S.P.T., N.C.S., Clinical Project Manager, is a researcher and national lecturer in the area of rehabilitation robotics. She has over a decade of experience at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), treating patients and as a clinical supervisor. After working at the RIC, Ms. Lewis was the Director of Trauma for HealthSouth Hospitals of Greater Pittsburgh which includes HealthSouth’s largest inpatient rehabilitation facility, Health South Harmarville. While at HealthSouth, Ms. Lewis was a key member of HealthSouth’s national technology review committee. Furthermore, she is a member of the Industry Advisory Board at Carnegie Mellon University’s Quality of Life Technology Center that was created to transform the lives of people with reduced functional capabilities due to aging or disability through technology innovation.
William Hoffmann, Project Engineer, received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University. He joined Cobotics as an Applications Engineer and continued in that capacity after the company and its product line was acquired by Stanley Assembly Technologies. After working for Stanley for 4 years broadening the use of the company’s line of Intelligent Assist Devices in the industrial marketplace he joined Kinea Design in 2007 as Project Engineer.
James R. Solberg, Ph.D., Control Engineer, joined the Kinea Design team in 2008. James was a member of the Laboratory for Intelligent Mechanical Systems and doctoral student at Northwestern University. His dissertation was on the interdependencies of motion and sensing in electrosensory-based systems, and he designed, built, and developed algorithms for a novel robotic system capable of locating underwater targets via electrosense. After receiving his PhD from Northwestern University, he worked as a physicist at Northrop Grumman developing algorithms for counter-measure systems. Dr. Solberg has Master degrees in mechanical engineering (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1999) and computer systems engineering (Sydney University, Australia, 2000) as well a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1997.
Stephen Clark, B.S., Design Engineer, joined the Kinea Design team in 2010. Steve’s engineering career began at Delphi Automotive Systems in 2001 where he worked as a co-op engineer on the design and development of electric power steering systems. In 2004 he moved to the Research Department of The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where he worked in the Prototype Shop designing and fabricating electro-mechanical devices for medical research. In 2006 Steve joined The Biomechatronics Development Laboratory as the Lead Mechanical Engineer where he designed and developed advanced robotic upper limbs for prosthetics. He was involved in several prosthetics projects including the DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics project where he was the engineering lead and lead designer of the primary drive system for 10 independently actuated joints in the hand. Steve received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, MI and his thesis was on the design of an articulating prosthetic finger with a single differential actuator.
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