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Northeastern University and WGI, Inc. Sign R&D and License Agreement for Electro-Rheological Fluid (ERF) Technology

Products Based on Northeastern Professor’s Breakthrough Invention Will Hit the Market as a Result of the Agreement

(5-21-07) Boston, Mass. – Northeastern University and WGI, Inc., a Massachusetts-based leading supplier of precision parts and assemblies for aerospace, industrial and medical applications, announced the signing of an agreement licensing to WGI, Inc. a breakthrough technology invented by a Northeastern University professor and his team for stroke rehabilitation using intelligent portable devices.

Under the agreement which includes a combination of a research and development contract and a license, WGI, Inc. will put substantial funding into Northeastern University to jointly develop the first product prototype over the next year. WGI will also form and launch an independent product-manufacturing startup company to be jointly owned by WGI, Northeastern University, and a group of private investors. The startup will also form partnerships with distributors and marketing organizations.

“We are very excited about expanding our product base with groundbreaking technology that can ultimately help millions of people,” says Fred Filios, President of WGI, Inc. “Northeastern’s research team has created just that and we are looking forward to working with them on taking the technology to the next level by creating products and making them available to the healthcare industry and to individuals who can benefit from them.”

Northeastern University will license three existing patents to WGI which include hardware and software for a series of inventions based upon electro-rheological fluid (ERF) brake and actuator technology.

The ERF technology (“smart fluids” that experience dramatic changes in rheological properties, such as viscosity or yield stress, in the presence of an electric field) is the foundation of a series of devices invented by Constantinos Mavroidis, Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, and his team at Northeastern University. The devices include the lightweight, fully portable Active Knee Rehabilitation Device and the Variable Resistance Exercise and Rehabilitation Hand Device, both using ERF to achieve computer-controlled, variable and tunable resistive force generation. While the knee brace helps to create resistance on a healing joint by re-establishing natural gait pattern, the hand device senses and measures patient-induced motion and force. The latter is also Magnetic Resonance-compatible and may be used in brain MRIs to study motor performance and assess rehabilitation after neurological injuries such as stroke.

“This partnership demonstrates Northeastern University’s commitment to bring innovative, world-class research to the marketplace. Professor Mavroidis’ team has developed technology that will lead to unique medical rehabilitation devices,” says Tony Pirri, Director of Northeastern’s Division of Technology Transfer. “This collaboration also provides us with the opportunity to contribute to the Massachusetts economy through collaboration with a local company.”

Future plans of the collaboration include designing and manufacturing prototypes for ankle and elbow rehabilitation devices.

For more information about the partnership between Northeastern University and WGI, Inc., please contact Renata Nyul at 617-373-7424 or at


About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit

About WGI, Inc.

Established in 1942, WGI, Inc. / Westfield Gage Overhaul and Repair is a leading supplier of precision machined products for the space program, military and commercial gas turbine engines, the cryogenics industry, and a variety of other aerospace, industrial and medical applications. The company has unique capabilities to produce precision machined products and provides special services, including research and development, prototyping, and the overhaul and repair of aerospace hardware. WGI has a global customer base. The company is based in Southwick, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit

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