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Leveraging Physical Human-Robot Interaction to Assess Human Neurological and Biomechanical Properties
Thursday, April 23, 2020
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
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Physical human-robot interaction offers a compelling platform for illuminating the mechanisms of recovery from neurological injury. While the value of robots working in isolation or alongside humans is well-established, how to best use robots in direct physical contact with humans is an evolving field. One of the barriers to using robots closely with humans is that robots have traditionally been designed with the “rigid is better” philosophy, which maximizes position control at the expense of force control performance. This seminar will present an alternative approach through two novel robotic manipulators that employ series elastic actuation—a compliant actuation concept that prioritizes accurate and safe force control. There will be a discussion of experimental results, including able-bodied individuals interacting with the series elastic actuated devices for robot-aided assessment of human neurological and biomechanical properties. These studies will be leveraged in future investigations into the mechanisms of recovery from neurological injury, as well as introducing robot-aided assessments into clinical neurorehabilitation.

About the speaker

Andrew Erwin received his bachelor’s degree (2012) in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he developed a modular haptic feedback device in Professor Frank Sup’s Mechatronics and Robotics Research Laboratory. Andrew received his master’s (2014) and PhD (2018) in mechanical engineering from Rice University. Supervised by Professor Marcia O’Malley in the Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab, Andrew’s PhD thesis focused on using series elastic actuators for applications in robot-aided assessment. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory performing developmental research with Talso Chui on a seismometer for the Moon. Andrew is the recipient of the NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship (2018), the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics Best Paper Award as a co-author (2017), the Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (2015), and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2013).

Seminar is free and available via Zoom Video Conferencing Link

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