Ashwin Needham

My own trajectory, that which has brought me to the Imperial Biomechatronics Lab, a melting pot beyond anything my academic career has introduced me to previously, has seen many aspects of the field over some 5 years in efforts to specialise in this industry, my adopted route as a professional engineer. A final year undergraduate project in gait analysis, exploiting the university facilities of the Sports Science department at Kingston University led to an enthusiasm for the field no doubt caught through infection from my supervisor, Professor Doctor Denis May. At this period we were making preparations for the London Paralympics, an event that brought exposure and interest from people from all walks of life who had no previous experience of the technologies made use of on the international stage at the highest level, at that time currently competing for the chance to compete with able bodied Olympians on the highest level. Poster boy of Ӧssur, Iceland, Oscar Pistorius wowed audiences around the world, the Cheetah blades he wears wowing equally. To this backdrop my career took flight. I was inspired by the hundreds of stories around the park that day I visited with my brother: “I should specialise and make it my industry,” he said. That I did. A Masters degree in Mechatronics at my local university taught me the cutting edge in robotics. I met people with similar enthusiasm, none less that my next supervisor to be, Professor Andrzej Ordys, an expert in Automotive Control Systems. With his support I conducted work in conceptual powered ankle technology throughout my degree, leading to further research work as a researcher in their PhD office. Through this time I took work experience at the Douglas Bader Prosthetics Lab at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton where I learnt the techniques and processes that go into fitting and providing prosthetics to their patients, an ancient skill still in survival there where old methods meet new materials and technologies, where carbon fibre meets flesh, and where I saw and held my first prostheses, those I had read about for those past years. I was going to make this my career, I told myself. An internship at Ӧssur followed in quick succession. Merely speaking to a representative at Ӧssur was an honour: here I was going to meet their bionic engineering team out in Reykjavik, Iceland and spend 4 months with them. I was introduced to the knee and with it the Ӧssur industrial vision. And then I was here and with it the opportunities to pursue my dreams to the next level amongst the greatest minds in the field with a place in a lab in the London base of one of the world’s greatest universities in the field of my dreams. On the way I have met great minds and amazing people, and the field is on an upward trajectory with a future that knits within the science fiction dreams of humanity. I do not have a missing leg myself but hopefully one day my work will make people who do forget they do themselves.

Please feel free to contact me by whatever means available if you wish to speak with me about anything at all. I can be found at and 07712205169. My profile is available at and I am based in the Biomechatronics Lab, Room 708 City and Guilds Building, South Kensington Campus, SW7 2AZ, London UK.