Daniel Ferris, Ph.D.


Daniel Ferris, Ph.D.

Professor, Movement Science
Director, Human Neuromechanics Laboratory
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Adjunct Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Brief Biography

Daniel Ferris received his B.S. in Mathematics Education from University of Central Florida in 1992, his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from University of Miami in 1994, and his Ph.D. in Human Biodynamics from University of California, Berkeley in 1998. His dissertation research focused on how humans adjust the mechanical impedance of their lower limbs when they hop and run on compliant surfaces. As a post-doctoral researcher in the UCLA Department of Neurology from 1998 to 2000, Dr. Ferris studied the effects of partial bodyweight support on the gait dynamics of individuals with spinal cord injury. He later went on to a post-doctoral position at the University of Washington Department of Electrical Engineering from 2000 to 2001, to begin building a robotic ankle exoskeleton for assisting human walking. He is currently a Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the School of Kinesiology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He studies the neuromechanical control of human locomotion in health and neurological disability. Two of his main research areas are robotic lower limb exoskeletons and mobile brain imaging during human locomotion. Dr. Ferris has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal papers and currently averages over $1 million in external funding for his laboratory.

The Science and Engineering of Iron Man: Robotic Exoskeletons and Non-invasive Brain-Computer Interfaces

Robotic technologies have greatly advanced in recent years, enabling many private companies and university research laboratories to develop powered robotic exoskeletons for assisting human movement. Unfortunately, results from prototype devices indicate that the devices do not interact ideally with the biomechanics and motor control of humans. Typically, human and exoskeleton fight each other rather than operate as an integrated and coordinated system. Over the last twelve years, my laboratory has developed several robotic lower limb exoskeletons with the intent of identifying principles of human motor adaptation to powered lower limb assistance. We have also pioneered the use of high-density electroencephalography to provide mobile brain imaging data during walking and walking. The studies we have performed provide key insight for the design of more effective robotic lower limb exoskeletons and non-invasive brain-computer interfaces.