Marquette University: Marquette engineer to be inducted into National Academy of Inventors


Andy Brodzeller

(414) 288-0286

[email protected]

MILWAUKEE – Dr. Joseph Schimmels, assistant dean for research and professor of mechanical engineering at Marquette University, will be included into the National Academy of Inventors on Friday, March 20.

Election to the National Academy of Inventors is an exclusive professional distinction for academic inventors, who are nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. Nominations are reviewed and chosen by the National Academy of Inventors Selection Committee.

“Dr. Schimmels represents the innovative and dedicated researcher we value at Marquette,” Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation said. “In addition to his own work, Dr. Schimmels has been instrumental in advancing and expanding the faculty research efforts within Marquette’s Opus College of Engineering, as well as serving as an exceptional mentor of student innovators.”

Schimmels has authored five accepted patents and has a sixth in the works. His most recent patents would help create a bionic ankle that is more responsive to users. Rather than using motors, Schimmels’ design uses springs and gravity to give the prosthesis its power.

Some other patents support Schimmels’ interest in developing robots that are more compliant and responsive to humans. Currently, most robots complete tasks in open and unconstrained spaces, such as in manufacturing plants. But in order for robots to adapt to changing environments, and ultimately people, Schimmels says advances in how robots are controlled and programmed must change. To do that, he is developing a robot joints with programmable stiffness that are more human-like. He calls the new motor a “arched-flexure variable stiffness actuator.”

Schimmels joins Marquette President Michael R. Lovell as a member of the NAI. Lovell, who was elected to the academy in 2014, holds seven patents and 14 provisional patents, also in mechanical engineering.

The NAI Fellows will be inducted at the 4th Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Deputy Commissioner for Patent Operations Andrew Faile will deliver the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, newly designed medal and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

Media interested in speaking with Schimmels can contact Andy Brodzeller, associate director of university communication, at (414) 288-0286.