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Professor Joseph Schimmels inducted into National Academy of Inventors

Photo via marquette.edu

Photo via marquette.edu

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Marquette mechanical engineering professor Joseph Schimmels was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors on March 13.

Schimmels’ peers nominated him for his impact through innovation in areas including patents, licensing, discovery, technology, society and supporting innovation enhancement. He was selected for induction after the nominations were reviewed by the National Academy of Inventors.

“It’s fun,” Schimmels said. “Creating new things, coming up with new ideas that find a novel solution and then protecting that idea through a patent.”

The National Academy of Inventors recognizes innovators who have a patent issued through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the organization’s website. They work to educate and mentor innovative students, encourage translating its members inventions and “enhance the visibility of their university and non-profit research institute technology and academic innovation.”

Schimmels specializes in robotics and prosthetics, and is authoring his sixth patent. He said he is working on a robot project now.

“I’m working on allowing robots to behave more like humans,” Schimmels said. “This would be done by allowing robots to adjust their joints giving them more of a human-like element.”

He called the joint work a “variable stiffness actuator.”

“Schimmels represents the innovative and dedicated researcher we value at Marquette,” said Jeanne Hossenlopp, vice president for research and innovation, in a university news brief. “In addition to his own work, Schimmels has been instrumental in advancing and expanding the faculty research efforts within Marquette’s Opus College of Engineering, as well as serving as an exceptional mentor of student innovators.”

Schimmels said Marquette owns the intellectual property of inventions discovered in faculty research.

“Marquette’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs decides whether it is in the university’s best interest to pursue intellectual property rights for an inventor’s idea or file a patent application,” Schimmels said. “If they think that the idea has commercial value, then they waive their rights to patent it themselves. The inventor may then pursue patenting if they have the resources and they think the idea merits patenting.”

University President Michael Lovell is also a member of NAI and was inducted in 2014.

Schimmels received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Marquette in 1981, his master’s in mechanical engineering at Northwestern University in 1988 and his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Northwestern in 1991.

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