Conor Walsh

Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

“We can maximize the agility and success rate of technology-focused start-ups by having CEOs and leaders who understand both product development and the many other business aspects of new venture creation.”

Conor Walsh is the Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the John A. Paulson Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is the founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, which brings together researchers from the engineering, industrial design, apparel, clinical and business communities to develop new disruptive robotic technologies for augmenting and restoring human performance. This research includes new approaches to the design, manufacture and control of wearable robotic devices and characterizing their performance through biomechanical and physiological studies so as to further the scientific understanding of how humans interact with such machines. Example application areas include, enhancing the mobility of healthy individuals, restoring the mobility of patients with gait deficits, assisting those with upper extremity weakness to perform activities of daily living and preventing injuries of workers performing physically strenuous tasks. His multidisciplinary research spans engineering, biology and medicine and has led to multiple high impact scientific papers. His group’s work is highly translation focused, has multiple partnerships with industry, with technologies already licensed, and one being sold as a product.

Conor is passionate about educating future innovators and he has established the Harvard Medical Device Innovation Initiative that provides students with the opportunity to collaborate with clinicians in Boston and emerging regions such as India. In addition, his research group is also dedicated to STEM education and have launched the Soft Robotics Toolkit that is an open source resource to promote and disseminate materials for soft robotics.The vast majority of alumni have gone on to paths in academia and high tech R&D positions in industry. His work has been recognized with multiple awards including the MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 Award, the Early Academic Career Award in Robotics and Automation from the IEEE RAS, the Rolex Award for Enterprise and the MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition Grand Prize. 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. For more information, visit Conor’s full bio here.