My research focuses on user interfaces for individual with impaired neuromotor control.

My work entails using voluntary actions that are retained after illness or injury as the command input to assistive technology. User actions that can be used as command inputs range from head or limb orientation and posture to the electrical activity of muscles that can still be willfully contracted by the user. 

These actions can then be used to determine the intent of the user as to how they want to operate the technology they are employing – i.e. move a mouse cursor, move their arm and close their hand via an FES system, or move a rehab robot. My work is applicable to helping to restore function across broad range of neuromotor conditions including spinal cord injury, amputation, and stroke.

Areas of Interest

  • Implanted electromyography (EMG) for control of a dexterous prosthetic handElectromyographic control
  • Electromyographic control of force augmentation for restoration of upper limb function after stroke.

Publications (Select)

Entire publication list can be found here.

  • Williams MR, Herr H, D’Andrea S. Metabolic effects of using a variable impedance prosthetic knee. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(6):1079-1088. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2015.04.0072. PubMed PMID: 28355031.
  • Williams MR, D’Andrea S, Herr HM. Impact on gait biomechanics of using an active variable impedance prosthetic knee. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2016 Jun 10;13(1):54. doi: 10.1186/s12984-016-0159-0. PubMed PMID: 27283318; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4901431.
  • Williams MR, Kirsch RF. Case study: Head orientation and neck electromyography for cursor control in persons with high cervical tetraplegia. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(4):519-30. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2014.10.0244. PubMed PMID: 27532681.
  • Williams MR, Walter W. Development of a prototype over-actuated biomimetic prosthetic hand. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0118817. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118817 Pubmed PMID: 25790306
  • Williams MR, Kirsch RF. Evaluation of head orientation and neck muscle EMG signals as three-dimensional command sources. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2015;12:25. doi: 10.1186/s12984-015-0016-6Pubmed PMID: 25881286
  • Williams MR, Kirsch RF. Evaluation of head orientation and neck muscle EMG signals as command inputs to a human-computer interface for individuals with high tetraplegia. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2008 Oct;16(5):485–496. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2008.2006216 Pubmed PMID: 18990652
  • Williams, M., Kirsch, R. “Evaluation of Command Sources for a High Tetraplegia Neuroprosthesis.” 26th Annual International Conference IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology,September 2004


Cleveland FES Center

Biomedical Engineer
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Research & Adjunct (Instructor) Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering
Case Western Reserve University


Program Contact
Matthew Williams

Contact Number
(216) 791-3800 x 64607

Contact Email