Pitt professor’s inventions recognized by Smithsonian, patent office
Babe Ruth. Honus Wagner. Thomas Edison?
When it comes to collectible trading cards, inventors are not usually the first thing that comes to mind.
But Rory Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized Saturday by the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with his own trading card.
The card notes the more than two dozen patents that have been awarded to Cooper or are pending. He is the 28th inventor to join the gallery, which includes Edison, George Washington Carver and Hedy Lamarr.
“This gallery includes some of the greatest inventors in human history, and without a doubt this is an incredible honor,” said Cooper, who is also associate dean for inclusion and the FISA/Paralyzed Veterans of America Distinguished Professor at Pitt’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “However, it is also great to see the amazing work being done at HERL be recognized as well.”
Cooper’s recognition is part of the annual Military Inventors Day. Cooper is a U.S. Army veteran and also serves as director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation.
The trading card, issued by the U.S. Trademark & Patent Office, will include information on Cooper’s work, which has led to improvements in mobility for people with disabilities. His portrait features his likeness using one such invention credited to him, the ergonomic dual surface wheelchair pushrim, a wheelchair accessory designed to relieve stress on the wheelchair pusher’s upper body.
“The researchers in the laboratories pour their time and effort into technologies that aim to improve people’s lives who need it most,” Cooper said. “It truly is amazing to see just how far mobility technology has come, and I’m excited to see what comes next.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .