The University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering is pleased to announce the arrival of assistant professor Tommaso Lenzi. Lenzi’s research focuses on the design, development and testing of wearable robots such as powered exoskeletons and robotic limb prostheses.

After receiving his doctorate in biorobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy in 2012, Lenzi moved to the U.S. to pursue postdoctoral training at Northwestern University. More recently, he was a research scientist at the Center for Bionic Medicine of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where he worked with an interdisciplinary team of engineers and clinicians focusing on translational science.

“Bionics is the study of engineering systems that function like living organism,” he said. “Novel advanced bionic technologies and systems such as robotic prostheses and exoskeletons can provide a unique opportunity to enhance human health and well-being, for example by helping individuals with lower-limb disability to walk independently.”

The University of Utah has a long history of developing bionic technologies. The Utah Arm, originally developed at the University of Utah’s Center for Engineering Design in 1974, is a leading myoelectric arm for above-elbow amputees. Sarcos, developer of the Iron Man-like robotic suit, XOS, was funded in Salt Lake City as a spin-off company of the U.

The goal of the Bionic Engineering Lab is to bring together students and researchers with interest in different disciplines, such as robotics, design, control, and biomechanics, to solve current health-related challenges with innovative approaches.

“Rather than focusing on the impaired biological function and trying to imitate its mechanics with a non-biological device,” he said, “our research explores non-biomimetic solutions that can build upon the residual, non-impaired abilities of a person while leveraging on the strengths of artificial technologies such as mechanism, sensors, and feedback control”.

Outside academia, Lenzi enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, playing soccer, riding his Ducati, and playing his Les Paul Studio.

More information about Lenzi and his research group can be found at the webpage for the University of Utah Bionic Engineering Lab.