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Health Systems Institute
Georgia Institute of Technology
828 West Peachtree Street, NW
2nd Floor
Atlanta, 30308
404.385.8193 (phone)
404.385.7452 (fax)


Stephen  Sprigle

Stephen Sprigle, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Industrial Design
Professor, Department of Applied Physiology

Phone: 404-894-4960
Location: CATEA - Room 109A
Email Address: Contact Stephen Sprigle


A biomedical engineer, Dr. Sprigle holds appointments in both industrial design and applied physiology, as well as being a principal researcher in the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access (CATEA). He brings to this position substantial engineering design knowledge and a strong research agenda in disability and rehabilitation technologies.


University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, BS - Engineering Science & Mechanics
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, ME - Biomedical Engineering
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, PhD - Biomechanics
Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York, MSPT - Physical Therapy

Research Interests/Current Projects:

Grant: Cost-utility and cost-benefit of a comprehensive assistive technology program.
Funding: Langeloth Foundation.
Description: This project will develop clinically-friendly tools to measure assistive technology outcomes while tracking costs associated with service delivery and cost impacts on personal care, employment and functional independence.

Grant: Clinical validation of postural stability measures.
Funding: Field-Initiated Project, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Dept of EdDates.
Description: This study seeks to develop and validate measures of postural stability of wheelchair users by measuring the ability of wheelchair users in performing typical daily tasks and relating the functional outcomes to clinical measures of stability.

Grant: Development and validation of test methods that measure a wheelchair cushion's ability to distribute load.
Funding: SCI Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans.
Description: The objectives of the study consist of validating bench tests as a means to reflect cushions' abilities to distribute pressure including:

  • Determining if bench tests of interface pressures using buttock models reflect the interface pressures measured as human subjects sit on cushions.
  • Determining if bench tests measuring loaded cushion contour and envelopment correlate to the interface pressures measured as human subjects sit on cushions.

Grant: Optimizing Posture, Trunk Control and Reach of Wheelchair Users.
Funding: Field-Initiated Project, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, US Dept of Ed.
Description: The study's objective is to improve function via better postural support by developing clinical guidelines and prototype devices that accommodate to the varying needs for trunk stability and mobility throughout the day. The two project aims are:

  • To determine the effects of posture and postural supports (cushion, backrest height and trunk supports) on the trunk control and UE function of wheelchair users.
  • Design "on-demand" postural supports that can be self-engaged to provide adequate trunk stability necessary to optimize UE function.


  • Kong L, Sprigle, S., Duckworth M, Yi D, Caspall J, Wang J, Zhao F (2008). Handheld erythema and bruise detector, Proceedings of SPIE -- Volume 6915; Medical Imaging 2008: Computer-Aided Diagnosis, Maryellen L. Giger, Nico Karssemeijer, Editors
  • Sonenblum, SE, Sprigle, S, Harris, FH, & Maurer, CL (2008). Characterization of Power Wheelchair Use in the Home and Community. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 89(3).
  • Sprigle S, Wootten M, Sawacha Z, Theilman G. Relationships between cushion type, backrest height, seated posture, and reach of wheelchair users with spinal cord injury. J Spinal Cord Med; 2003; 26:236-243, August.
  • Sprigle S, Linden M, Riordan B. Analysis Of Localized Erythema Using Clinical Indicators And Spectroscopy. Ostomy Wound Management. 2003; 49(3):18-26, March.
  • Sprigle S, Linden M, Riordan B. Characterizing reactive hyperemia via tissue reflectance spectroscopy in response to an ischemic load across gender, age, skin pigmentation and diabetes. Medical Eng & Physics. 24 (2002); 651-661.
  • Sprigle S, Wootten M, Bresler M, Flinn N. Development of a non-invasive measure of pelvic and hip angles in a seated posture, Arch Phys Med & Rehabil, 2002; 83:1597-602, Nov.
  • Sprigle S, Press L, Davis K. Development of uniform terminology and procedures to describe wheelchair cushion characteristics, J Rehabil Research and Development, 38(4):449-461, July/August 2001.
  • Riordan B, Sprigle S, Linden M. Testing the validity of erythema detection algorithms. J Rehabil Research and Development, 2001;38(1)pp.13-22.
  • Sprigle S, Linden M, McKenna D, Davis K, Riordan B. Clinical skin temperature measurement to predict incipient pressure ulcers. Advances in Skin & Wound Care, 2001; 14(3):133-138.
  • Sprigle S, Effects of forces and the selection of support surfaces, Top Geriatric Rehabil; 2000;16(2)-47-62.
  • Hughes CJ, Hurd K, Jones A, Sprigle S. Resistance properties of Thera-Band tubing during shoulder abduction exercise, J Orthopaedic & Sports PT; 29(7):413-420, 1999.
  • Rahman MR, Sprigle S, Sharit J, Guidelines for force-travel combinations of push button switches for older persons, Applied Ergonomics, 29(2):93-100, 1998.
  • Sprigle S, Sposato B, Physiologic Effects and Design Considerations of Tilt and Recline Wheelchairs, Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinics of North America. 6(1):99-121, March 1997.
  • Rahman MM, Sprigle S, Physical Accessibility Guidelines of Consumer Product Controls, Assistive Technology, 9(1):3-14, 1997.
  • Karg P, Sprigle S, Development of test methodologies for determining the safety of wheelchair headrest systems during vehicle transport, Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 33(3):290-304, 1996.
  • Sprigle S, Linden M, Accelerations experienced by wheelchair users with spinal cord injury in a moving van, Technology and Disability, 5:81-91, 1996.
  • Linden M, Sprigle S, Development of instrumentation and protocol to measure the dynamic environment of a modified van, Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 33(1)23-29, 1996.
  • Sprigle S, Morris B, Nowacek G, Karg P, Assessment of the Evaluation Procedures of Drivers with Disabilities, Occupational Therapy Journal of Research,15(3):147-164, Summer 1995.
  • Sprigle S, Schuch J, Using Seat Contour Measurements During Seating Evaluations of the SCI, Assistive Technology, 5(1),24-35, 1993.
  • Cron L, Sprigle S, Clinical Evaluation of the Hemi Cushion, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47(2),141-144, 1993.
  • Sprigle S, Chung KC, Brubaker C, Factors Affecting Seat Contour Characteristics, VA Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, vol. 17, no. 2, 1990, pgs 135-140.
  • Sprigle S, Faisant T, Chung KC, Clinical Evaluation of Custom Contoured Cushions for the Spinal Cord Injured, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 71(9)655-658, 1990.
  • Sprigle S, Chung KC, Brubaker C, Reduction of Sitting Pressures with Custom Contoured Cushions, VA Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 27(2):127-134, 1990.

Professional Memberships/Affiliations:

  • American Physical Therapy Association, 1995-present.
  • NIH Special Study Section- Rehabilitation and Orthopedics, 1995-present.
  • National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, Board of Directors, 1997-2003.
  • Editorial Board, Assistive Technology, 1994-2002 & Technology & Disability, 1994-2000.
  • Biomedical Engineering Society, 1991- Local Planning Committee, BMES Fall Meeting, Oct 1991.
  • Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA):
    • Meetings Committee: 1996-1999;
    • Annual Conference Scientific Program Chair: 1997-1999;
    • RESNA List Coordinator: 1994- present;
    • Seating and Positioning SIG- 1985- present; Chair- 1995-1997.
    • ANSI/RESNA Wheelchair Seating Standards Subcommittee, 1998- present:
      - Vice-chair, Pressure Management Devices Workgroup
      - Member, Terminology and Definitions & Postural Support Device Workgroups

Manuscript Reviewer:

VA Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development: 1994-present;
IEEE Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering: 1995-present;
Advances in Wound Care, 1999-present.

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