Rory A. Cooper: History
Please note this is an old version of this entry, which may differ significantly from the current revision.
Subjects: Others
  • rehabilitation
  • bioengineering
  • health

Basic Information

Rory A. Cooper
Name: Rory A. Cooper
(Nov 1959–)
Los Angeles , California, U.S.
Titles: Professor Inventor
Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh Xi'an Jiaotong University
Honor: Unknown

1. Introduction

Rory A. Cooper is an American bioengineer who currently serves as Distinguished Professor and FISA/PVA Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and professor of Bioengineering, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh.[1][2][3] He is also Associate Dean for Inclusion in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.[4] He holds an Adjunct Faculty position at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, and is an Invited Professor at Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, China.[5][6]

He is the founder and director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories.[7]

2. Early Life

In December 1972, Cooper became an Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America).[8]

Cooper enlisted in the United States Army in 1976 and was assigned to the 3rd Ordnance Battalion, 32nd Air Defense Artillery Command with U.S. Army Europe and was later attached to the 5th Signal Command, USAREUR, and the U.S. Military Community Activity Worms, 21st Support Command.[9]

While stationed in Germany in 1980, he was hit by a bus while riding a bicycle. As a result, he became paralyzed from the waist down.[10]

Cooper received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1985 and an electrical engineering M.Eng from Cal Poly in 1986.[11] He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in bioengineering from University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989.[12]

3. Career

From 1989 to 1994, Cooper was an assistant professor in Bioengineering at Sacramento State University.[13][14] In 1994, Cooper became an Associate Professor at the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh (obtaining full professorship in 1998).[15] Also in 1994, he founded the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, which includes the VA Center of Excellence in Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering.[16][17]

He is also a Senior Research Career Scientist with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[18]

Cooper has published almost 300 peer-reviewed journal articles.[19][20][21] He is the author of Rehabilitation Engineering Applied to Mobility and Manipulation[22] and Wheelchair Selection and Configuration[23] and co-edited An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering,[24] Care of the Combat Amputee,[25] and Warrior Transition Leader: Medical Rehabilitation Handbook.[26]

Cooper has been a National Academies of Sciences Distinctive Voices Lecture, ACC Distinguished Lecturer, Smithsonian Institution ADA 25th Anniversary Festival Speaker, Young Lecture at the Royal Military College of Canada, and inaugural AAAS-Lemelson Foundation Invention Ambassador. He has also been elected to Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi honorary societies. Cooper is a former President of RESNA, and a member of the IEEE-EMBS Medical Device Standards Committee. Additionally, he has been a member of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Medicare Advisory Committee, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Prosthetics and Special Disability Programs Advisory Committee, Chair of the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, U.S. Department of Defense Health Board Subcommittee on Amputation and Orthopedics, Board of Directors of Easter Seals, National Academy of Medicine Committee on Assistive Products and Devices, and National Academy of Sciences Keck Foundation Initiative on Human Health Span Steering Committee.[27]

He is the director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation, and currently serves as a member of the Honorary Board of Advisors of the Student Veterans of America, Chair of the Honorary Board of Advisors of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Education and Human Resources, Command Council of the Staff Sergeant Donnie D. Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services, and World Health Organization GATE Committee.[28]

In 2014, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh appointed Cooper a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.[29]

4. Inventions and Patents

Cooper holds 25 patents in wheelchair technology.[30] He is the inventor of many advanced mobility devices and assistive technologies. Among these are MEBot, a stair-climbing wheelchair;[31] PneuChair, a wheelchair powered entirely by compressed air;[32] and Virtual Seating Coach, a smartphone app to control power wheelchair seating systems.[33][34]

The July 26, 2010 issue of Popular Science profiled Cooper, and a photo of him with a robotic wheelchair he invented was the issue's centerfold.[35]

5. Athletics

At the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, Cooper received a Bronze Medal in the 4x400-meter wheelchair relay.[36]

Cooper was on the steering committee for the 1996 Paralympic Scientific Congress held in Atlanta, GA, and was the Sports Scientist for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team in Beijing, China.[37] He also received the 2013 International Paralympic Scientific Achievement Award.[38]

At the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG) concluded on June 30, 2012 Richmond, Virginia,[39] Cooper earned 5 gold medals in swimming.[40]

Cooper is an accomplished handcyclist and competes annually in the Pittsburgh Marathon.[41]

Cooper continuously shares his athletic knowledge and skills with "newly injured Soldiers and Veterans." He encourages athletes with disability to "compete" at the "Army 10-miler, Marine Corps Marathon, Air Force Marathon, and NVWG." He also volunteers his expertise as a member of the "US Paralympic" staff including "1992, 1996, and 2008."[42]

6. Recognition and Awards

Cooper is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the Biomedical Engineering Society.[43][44][45][46][47][48]

Cooper has received many honors; among the most recent are a 2017 Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science for engineering,[49] recipient of one of the 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals,[50] recognition as a "Health Hero" in Oprah Magazine,[51] and the 2016 Marlin Mickle Outstanding Innovator Award.[52]

Other awards Cooper has received include the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, National Guard Bureau Minute Man Award, AAAS Mentor Award, Joseph F. Engelberger Award, AIMBE Advocacy Award, Herny Viscardi Achievement Award, U.S. Army Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award, Olin E. Teague Award, membership in the Pennsylvania Military and Veteran Hall of Fame, Order of Military Medical Merit, Order of Mercury, Order of Saint Maurice, Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor, DaVinci Lifetime Achievement Award, and the inaugural class of the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame.[53]

In 2009, Cooper was featured on a special edition Cheerios cereal box to celebrate his accomplishments.[54]

In appreciation of his work and accomplishments, the Pittsburgh City Council proclaimed June 17, 2014, as "Dr. Rory A. Cooper Day."[55]

The content is sourced from:

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions.


  1. "Rory Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  2. "Rory Cooper". Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  3. "Rory Cooper, PhD". McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  4. "Rory Cooper". SHRS. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  5. "Rory Cooper". Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  6. "西安交通大学教师个人主页 - Academic Exchanges". Xi'an Jiaotong University Academic Communications. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  7. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  8. "Dr. Rory Cooper: The Innovative Engineer". Retrieved April 23, 2018. 
  9. "VA Researchers Who Served: Dr. Rory Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  10. "A Wheelchair 'Revolution'". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  11. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  12. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  13. "Cooper CV". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  14. "The Continuing Accomplishments of Rory Cooper". California State University, Sacramento. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  15. "Cooper CV". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  16. "Interview with Dr. Rory Cooper, Founder and Director of Human Engineering Research Laboratories". Defense Media Network. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  17. "VA Pittsburgh Healthcare Systems Research Programs". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  18. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  19. "Rory Cooper, PhD". McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  20. "Refereed Journal Publications". Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  21. "Cooper CV". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  22. "Rehabilitation Engineering Applied to Mobility and Manipulation". CRC Press. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  23. "Wheelchair Selection and Configuration". Demos Medical. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  24. "An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering". CRC Press. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  25. "Care of the Combat Amputee". AMEDDC&S. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  26. "Warrior Transition Leader: Medical Rehabilitation Handbook". GPO. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  27. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  28. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  29. "Three leading Pennsylvanians named Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army". Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  30. "VA Researchers Who Served: Dr. Rory Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  31. "The "MeBot" robotic wheelchair can climb steps on its own". Innovations Report. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  32. "New Waterproof Wheelchair is Powered Entirely by Compressed Air". R&D. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  33. "Dr. Rory Cooper: Hero Story". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  34. "Virtual Seating Coach". Permobil, Inc.. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  35. "Rise of the Helpful Machines". Popular Science. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  36. "Dr. Rory Cooper: Hero Story". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  37. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  38. "Paralympic Scientific Award". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  39. "National Veterans Wheelchair Games". Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  40. "Pittsburgh Area Veterans Bring Home Gold, Silver and Bronze". Public Affairs Office of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  41. "Veterans From All Over To Participate In Marathon Handcycle Division". CBS Pittsburgh. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  42. Warrior Transition Leader Medical Rehabilitation Handbook (First ed.). Ft. Detrick MD: United States Department of Defense, Defense Dept, Borden Institute.. October 2011. p. 208. ISBN 9780160893667. 
  43. "Current NAI Fellows". NAI. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  44. "2017 AAAS Fellows Recognized for Advancing Science". AAAS. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  45. "Fellow Rory Cooper". RESNA. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  46. "CSS IEEE Fellows". IEEE. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  47. "Rory Cooper, Ph.D.". AIMBE. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  48. "BMES List of Fellows". BMES. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  49. "2017 AAAS Fellows Recognized for Advancing Science". AAAS. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  50. "Rory A. Cooper". Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  51. "11 Everyday Heroes Who Bring Healthcare to Those in Need". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  52. "Cooper receives innovation award". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  53. "Rory A. Cooper". Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  54. "Special Edition Cheerios Cereal Box will Feature Pitt’s Rory Cooper, Ph.D.". UPMC. Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
  55. ""Dr. Rory A. Cooper Day" Proclaimed by Pittsburgh City Council". Retrieved April 11, 2018. 
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