William Durfee, Ph.D.
Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor
Director Design Education
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Minnesota
William Durfee's research interests include design of medical devices, rehabilitation engineering, advanced orthotics, biomechanics and physiology of human muscle including electrical stimulation of muscle, product design and design education.
Example research projects: (1) Developing a system that combines electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles with a mechanical brace to restore walking to individuals with paraplegia. (2) Exploring the fundamental characteristics of tiny hydraulic systems and their application to powered exoskeletons for orthotics and human power amplification. (3) Developing a tiny internal combustion engine and compressor for supplying compressed air to portable, wearable pneumatic systems. (4) Researching the mechanical properties of human muscle including developing new research and clinical diagnostic instrumentation to quickly and easily measure muscle function. (5) Assessing performance characteristics of tools and devices used in surgical procedures. (6) Exploring new ways to educate engineers, including low-cost take-home lab kits.