B.C. Matthews Hall
University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. West
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
519-888-4567, ext. 35513
Dr. Tilak Dutta is a Scientist at TRI and leads the Home and Community Team. He completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 at the University of Toronto focused on preventing back injury in caregivers and received funding from the WSIB to produce a set of videos for caregivers to update their training with our current understanding of the causes of back injury. He is listed as an inventor on several patents including SlingSerter.
His past work includes studies of scooter manoeuvrability to make recommendations for changes to building codes as well as the design of anti-collision systems for power wheelchairs to give more wheelchair users greater independence. More recently, Tilak has also turned his attention to footwear slip-resistance testing on ice and snow. His goal is to provide consumers with ratings that define how well the footwear works on snow and ice so that we can all make more informed purchases.
Another theme in Tilak’s work includes finding ways to measure things in the real world rather than in the lab. During his PhD, he measured patient handling activities in the clinical environment. Now he is evaluating the Microsoft Kinect to see if it can be used to measure activities outside or in people’s homes.
Finally, Tilak wants to change the way engineering design is taught. Design requires testing out ideas to see if they will work and to keep trying when they do not. Typical courses don’t give students enough time to test iterations of prototypes. Tilak incorporates design within students’ graduate projects.