University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

William Durfee

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor

Office: ME 2101B
Phone: 612-625-0099

Ph.D. 1985, M.S. 1978, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A.B. 1976, Engineering and Applied Physics, Harvard University



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.

Personal Web page


Human/Machine Design Laboratory