News | May 29, 2019

Prolific VA inventor has a new mouse for prosthetic users

Dr. Rory Cooper honored with US Patent & Trademark Office trading card

News Article Image of Prolific VA inventor has a new mouse for prosthetic users

Dr. Rory Cooper, left, inventor and senior scientist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, poses for a photo with a piece of the original Star Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History during the 2019 Military Invention Day event.

Raymond D. Diaz III/Navy

Dr. Rory Cooper, a senior research scientist at the Department of Veterans Affairs, is the latest inventor to become part of a collectible trading card series published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The unveiling of the card took place on May 18 at the Military Inventors Day celebration by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

“Rory Cooper is a distinguished professor of rehabilitation engineering at the University of Pittsburgh and a senior career scientist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. His team has developed over 100 inventions and hold multiple patents related to wheelchairs, robotics, and wearable instruments designed to improve the lives of people with disabilities and military veterans,” the card reads.

Trading card image of Dr. Rory Cooper courtesy U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Cooper, an Army veteran and a wheelchair user, is the director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh. The new trading card shows Cooper using a wheelchair push-rim technology that his lab invented to reduce muscle strain for wheelchair users.

He is the 28th inventor to be featured in the trading card series, which includes other famous inventors like Thomas Edison and Hedy Lamarr.

TechLink, the VA’s partnership intermediary for technology transfer, helps businesses access Cooper’s intellectual property portfolio so that his inventions can become new products and services.

Private companies have already licensed several of Cooper’s devices, but one of his latest, a computer mouse for people who use a hook-type prosthetic hand, remains available.

The 3D-printed shell allows users to grasp the computer mouse and operate the switches by tilting their wrist left or right. (courtesy Dr. Rory Cooper/VA)

Prosthetic compatible mouse

This device modifies an existing mouse with a 3D-printed cover that makes it easy for the user to grasp with a hook, and to operate the switches by tilting the shell.

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