The “Why”, “How”, “What” structure was inspired by Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” TED Talk.
I work on meshing humans and robots more effectively to improve our quality of life. My contribution toward this goal is investigating how we sense and interact with forces, humans, and robots.
Now, you might be thinking, “What does that have to do with improving quality of life?”
So, an example from my work is that one of my projects is quantifying treatment given by physical therapists field so patients get more consistent and accurate treatment to speed up recovery. This is part of a much broader, long standing effort to provide evidence based healthcare. To move toward that goal of comparing treatments based on qualitative data, we must first understand the current state of treatment. This project is about doing just that in physical therapy using robotics.
Another area of focus for me is understanding how humans control robotic systems. So, let’s say that in 14 years that you want to have a firefighter piloting a swarm of fire extinguishing drones: taking the best of both the human’s ability to contextualize new information and react and the robot’s indefatigable, fearless, and precise characteristics. To do that, you need virtual interfaces and control systems that work with the pilot. My research is about understanding some of the nuances of those interactions to enable the next wave of robotic technology like fire fighting drone swarms.
As a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering, I study human-robot interaction and haptics especially related to how humans control, perceive, and recall forces.
To do this, I use many different tools such as Python, C++, and MATLAB to do things like control motors, read sensor data, and analyze experimental data to find relationships and test hypotheses. I also use a lot of hands-on tools, which includes everything from the good old hammer and screwdriver to fancier things like rapid prototyping with 3D printing and laser cutting.
A few things that I’m working to better understand are:
- the limits and factors of human ability to control dynamic systems
- the relationship between perception and memory
- how our arms work together bimanually
- the variation among and within physical therapists when they are providing patients with treatment
- Accuracy of Dynamic Force Compensation Varies With Direction and Speed
- Perceptions on Levels of Assistance Inconsistency in Physical Therapy: Preliminary Results
- Assessing the role of preknowledge in force compensation during a tracking task
- Assessing the Effect of Experience on Bimanual Force Recreation
- Force Compensation and Recreation Accuracy in Humans
- Effect of Weight and Number of Fingers on Bimanual Force Recreation