Changing Lives with Bionics

In the realm of mechanical engineering, where innovation meets human need, Kai Pruyn stands out as a beacon of progress. As a first-year Ph.D. student under the mentorship of Tommaso Lenzi at the HGN Lab for Bionic Engineering, Pruyn is at the forefront of developing technology that promises to transform lives. Her work on hip and ankle exoskeletons for stroke patients represents a major leap forward in rehabilitative care, offering newfound hope for enhanced mobility.

Pruyn’s journey into bionic engineering began with a passion for powered prosthetics, fueled by an undergraduate research experience aimed at supporting women in STEM. This early exposure to research ignited a curiosity that evolved into a dedicated career path. Pruyn’s projects focus on using powered exoskeletons/assistive devices to improve mobility for stroke survivors, easing their day-to-day challenges.

What makes Pruyn’s work remarkable is not just the scientific innovation but the tangible impact on individuals. “There’s an older gentleman that I work with a lot who has had a stroke. He does a happy dance every time he comes in because he’s so excited to use the exoskeleton, which brings me so much joy. It really breathes life into the research that we get to do,” Pruyn said. It’s these human stories, woven through the fabric of technical achievement, that underscore the transformative potential of Pruyn’s work.

Facing the future, Pruyn remains committed to pushing the bounds of bionic engineering. Whether her path leads her to academia or industry, her dedication to leveraging technology for the betterment of human mobility shines brightly. As she continues her Ph.D. journey, one thing is clear: Pruyn is not just engineering devices; she’s engineering hope.

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2024 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author:

David Kale David Kale, a Lassonde Studios resident and community member, is pursuing a degree in operations and supply chain. Outside of the classroom, he finds joy in writing musicals, practicing photography and cinematography, and learning any new skill he can.

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