Joel C. Huegel West, Ph.D.

Joel C. Huegel West, Ph.D.


Research Areas:

  • Biomechatronics
  • Haptic Interfaces
  • Humanitarian Technologies
  • Prosthetics
  • Phenomena and/or centrifugal forces

Currently, Dr. Joel Huegel is leader of the Biomechatronics Research laboratory and tenured professor of mechanical engineering at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico. Huegel completed his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 2009 at Rice University in Houston under the leadership of Dr. Marcia O’Malley. The topic of his Ph.D. thesis was human-robot interaction for training and rehabilitation in challenging dynamic motor skill tasks. Prior to both Rice and four years of teaching experience at the Tecnológico, Huegel obtained a M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Now, in his own research lab, Huegel develops technology for underprivileged communities and basic industrial biomechatronic applications. One project of particular interest is the design, testing and commercialization of an ultra-low-cost high-activity prosthetic foot. Over 15 researchers including junior faculty, post-graduate and undergraduate students and staff collaborate in the lab each semester. For these projects, Huegel has obtained slightly over 2.7 million pesos (210,000USD) in government grants, industry funding, and university seed funding. With his leadership, the Biomechatronics lab has authored over 30 journal and conference publications including two patents granted and 5 patents pending.

Huegel’s passion for teaching engineering with excellence in the developing world has taken him to the Unites States, Mexico, South and Central America, and Asia. This passion for overseas service began during his years at his alma mater, LeTourneau University, having graduated in 1993 in mechanical engineering technology. During those years he co-founded Spring Break foreign-service trips to Mexico with over 100 participants each Spring. His professional experience includes LeTourneau Inc. (earth-moving equipment) and then General Dynamics (satellite communications equipment) in the 1990’s.  Since 2003 Huegel has been a Fellow of Global Scholars and in 2015, for his outstanding teaching and community service, he received the “Inspiring Professor Award”, a national recognition of Tecnológico de Monterrey. Dr. Huegel received the 2013 Pauchon Foundation award for excellence in science for the betterment of mankind. As a result, he co-founded the Mexican NGO: Technology Serving Community to further this philanthropic goal specifically tending to persons requiring lower-limb prosthetics.




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