Stephen Sprigle

Professor, Industrial Design
Professor, Applied Physiology

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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.

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.