July 08, 2024 | Contact | marketing@willowwood.com

WillowWood Global to Open a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center

WillowWood Global to Open a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center

Mount Sterling, Ohio – WillowWood is excited to announce it has been awarded nearly $5M over 5 years from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to establish a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) for Prosthetics and Orthotics. RERCs are considered national centers of excellence for a particular area of rehabilitation.  WillowWood has become the first manufacturer to secure this award and will partner with long time collaborator, The Ohio State University, to collectively work on Innovative Design and Research for Enhancing Assistive Devices or what will be referred to as the IDEA Center. The goal of the IDEA center is to advance clinical care, specifically for the interface between human and device, through digitization, sensorization, and adaptation to positively impact patient health outcomes and overall performance. The advancements anticipated through the research will be realized and sustained through a robust education and dissemination program as a core activity of the IDEA Center. This award brings the total grant funding portfolio of WillowWood Global to $13M secured in just the last 2 years.

“The challenges for pairing a patient with their prosthesis or orthosis require multidisciplinary teams and multifaceted approaches to overcome. The RERC mechanism enables our team to partner with cross functional experts to comprehensively transform the interface. We are grateful for this opportunity from NIDILRR.” Matt Wernke PhD, Director, Research and Development for WillowWood and Co-Principal Investigator for the IDEA Center.

“Our team has been building to this point for many years, and we are thankful to continue our research trajectories as well as explore novel ideas. I know our faculty and students are eager to engage in the IDEA Center.” Heather Powell PhD, Professor at The Ohio State University and Co-Principal Investigator for the IDEA Center.

“WillowWood remains focused on enabling the best clinical outcomes for patients, and this partnership with Ohio State University combined with the support from NIDILRR will help us continue to deliver a positive impact. The partnership with The Ohio State University has been incredibly successful over the last 10 years, resulting in several products commercialized and award-winning presentations at domestic and international conferences. Through our past collaboration and projects included in the IDEA Center, we expect to greatly transform the interface between patient and device.” Daniel Rubin, Chief Operating Officer for WillowWood.

“Ohio State’s partnership with WillowWood has flourished, from numerous research grant collaborations to their investment in experiential learning through student capstone projects and the Robert E. Arbogast Teaching Laboratory. This latest victory for the team certainly bolsters the impact we are making together.” Dean Ayanna Howard PhD, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University.

About WillowWood Global LLC

Based in Mount Sterling, Ohio, WillowWood Global (www.willowwood.com) is an industry leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of prosthetic products, including liners, feet, vacuum systems and components. Recognized for its products’ superior innovation, quality, and patient outcomes, WillowWood’s portfolio includes the Alpha® family of liners, the Koa® LP and Meta® families of high-activity feet, the LimbLogic® vacuum system, and the OMEGA® CAD system. For over 117 years, WillowWood’s prosthetic products have helped individuals with limb loss find comfort and functionality, remain active and live life to the fullest.


About Ohio State University

The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s graduate and undergraduate programs are both ranked 1st among all Ohio universities and 14th among public universities according to U.S. News & World Report. The College of Engineering offers 18 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate programs and a growing cadre of online degrees and certificates. In 2023, total College of Engineering enrollment—including undergraduate and graduate students across all campuses—rose to 11,111 students, a 3.3% increase from 2022 and a record-high. The new first-year students are also academically gifted. Of the engineering students on the Columbus campus, 97.3% are in the top 25% of their high school class and 74.8% are in the top 10%. In fiscal year 2022, this research was supported by over $162 million in externally sponsored research expenditures. Industry R&D expenditures for the College of Engineering in fiscal year 2022 totaled over $50.5 million.