Date of release: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Professor KyberdA leading expert in prosthetic limbs has joined the University of Greenwich as its Head of Engineering Science.

Professor Peter Kyberd has a wealth of experience in designing, programming and testing artificial limbs, and of using computer intelligence to create the most advanced models in his field.

He played a key role in the creation of the first microprocessor-controlled prosthetic hand to be used by a person at home, and also lead the team which built the first artificial arm to be controlled via a 'local area network'. This innovation enabled the arm to be assembled more simply and reliably by the prosthetist from the individual joints (such as the hand, elbow and wrist), and to be controlled more simply by the user.

He says: "One of the best aspects of this work is that I have been involved with making a difference in people's lives. I was the same generation as the thalidomide kids who were born without parts of more than one limb, and they were often on television as I was growing up.

"I remember seeing programmes such as Blue Peter and Tomorrow's World discuss how science could help these children. I found it terribly interesting even from an early age. It showed there was a difficult problem to be solved.

"As a student I did think about these problems. When I studied for my Master's I was given the chance to work in the field, and it felt like the perfect opportunity had just fallen out of the sky. In the years since, creating novel technology that has helped someone to live a more effective life is probably my proudest achievement."

Professor Kyberd is also part of an international team that is working towards the standardisation of the assessment of prosthetic arms. Other areas of his research include looking at treating limb deformities, and tests and treatments for cruciate ligament damage, a knee injury which occurs most often among sportsmen and women.

He joins Greenwich's Faculty of Engineering & Science from the University of New Brunswick, where he was Canada Research Chair. His PhD was awarded for work on a prosthetic hand at Southampton University, and his career history includes spells at the Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre, part of the University of Oxford, and as a lecturer at the University of Reading.

Professor Kyberd is Chair and Head of the new Department of Engineering Science. This is one of two engineering departments at Greenwich, the other being Applied Engineering & Management.

"Combining the different engineering disciplines will make our graduates better qualified and be able to react to the many changes that will happen during their careers," he says. "We have highly skilled, motivated students and it's another exciting challenge to be helping to place our graduates in the best possible jobs. We have great potential both as a department and as a university, and I look forward to spreading the word."

Among other talents, Professor Kyberd is a keen runner who has completed the London Marathon on four occasions, and a specialist in the steeplechase. He is also qualified downhill ski instructor.

For more about studying with the Faculty of Engineering & Science: or call 020 8331 9000.

Story by Public Relations