Alan M. Schneider
Prof Emeritus, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
While aerospace vehicles have been Professor Schneider's primary research interest throughout his career, his recent research focus has turned to modeling of engineering and physiological systems and problems. Schneider is working on a system for stroke patient rehabilitation with continuous passive motion. Limb spasticity remains one of the major rehabilitation challenges for stroke patients. Schneider's system consists of a direct-drive brushless DC motor which powers the adjustable mechanical arm into which the patient's arm comfortably fits. The motor drives the robot arm under closed-loop feedback control using a digital computer as a programmable controller. The "robot arm" is a tool to make quantitative measurements of spasticity, thereby facilitating the assessment of spasticity-reducing therapies, including drugs, and the study of neuromuscular causes of spasticity. The initial commercial market would be in pharmaceutical companies and other research institutions, followed by full-scale production and sale to major rehabilitation clinics. A later development would be a smaller, lighter, cheaper version for home use by stroke patients. Other research interests include the design of computer-controlled orthotic devices, automatic control of blood pressure during surgery and modelling of major physiological systems.
Alan M. Schneider received the Sc.D. degree in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at MIT in 1957. He worked at the Instrumentation Laboratory at MIT and at the Aerospace Systems Division of RCA, where he was a senior engineering scientist and, later, manager of systems analysis. He joined UCSD one year after the formation of the Department of MAE. Among his professional distinctions, Schneider won the Samuel M. Burka Award of the Institute of Navigation for Work on Space Rendezvous (1962), the Community Contribution Award, San Diego Section, AIAA (1971).