Philosophical Society of Washington

Revolutionizing Prosthetics

Geoffrey Ling
DARPA Program Manager for Restorative Biomedical Technologies

2234th Meeting Abstract
Friday, February 22, 2008 at 8:15 PM


The vision of the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program is to provide fully integrated limb replacements that perform arm tasks with biological strength and dexterity by exploiting state-of-the-art technologies in actuation, mechanical power distribution, energy storage, biotic/abiotic interfaces, sensors, computations and neural control. Phase 1 sought to advance scientific research and generate engineering concepts to identify viable integration pathways to achieve Phase 2 objectives through a comprehensive system integration plan. That plan includes engineering development, and an approach for human subjects testing and clinical trials. In Phase 2, Revolutionizing Prosthetics will produce a fully neurally integrated upper extremity prosthetic ready for FDA approval submission and manufacturing transition.

About the Author:

COL Geoffrey Ling, MC, USA is a program manager at the Defense Advanced Projects Agency. At the agency, his focus has been on improving warfighter survival from combat related injury. There his program portfolio included Advanced Prosthesis (neural controlled robotic arm), Preventing Violent Explosion Neurotrauma (elucidating the physical mechanism by which IEDs cause traumatic brain injury and mitigating it), Human Assisted Neural Devices (brain control of assistive devices), Freeze Dried Platelets and others.

COL Ling is the only practicing neuro critical care specialist in the U.S. military. In that capacity, he has been deployed to both Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Afghanistan, he served with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital and in Iraq, he served with the 86th Combat Support Hospital, “the Baghdad ER,” and the 10th Combat Support Hospital, where he was “the physician of the month” in November, 2005.

He is also Professor and Vice-Chair of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland as well as an attending physician at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Ling earned his undergraduate degree from Washington University, his Ph.D. at Cornell University and his Medical Degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. Following a medical internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he completed fellowships in Neuroscience Critical Care at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and in Neuropharmacology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Dr. Ling’s research interests are mainly focused on brain injury – trauma and stroke. His laboratory at USUHS takes a broad approach to injury. Studies are done developing new diagnostic imaging approaches, novel pharmacologic agents and elucidating mechanisms of brain edema formation. He has authored over 50 journal articles and 35 reviews/book chapters, including Cecil’s Textbook of Medicine.

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