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Fri, March 12

Speaker: Veronica Santos, PhD (Arizona State University)

Title: Towards enhanced functionality of artificial hands

Abstract: Modern artificial hands are moving away from one degree-of-freedom pincers and towards more anthropomorphic designs.  However, biomimetic kinematics are not sufficient for achieving dexterous manipulation on par with the “gold standard” of the biological human hand.  I will present an overview of three ongoing projects to enhance artificial hands:  (1) understanding in vivo grip responses, (2) developing a tactile skin, and (3) closing the sensory portion of the human-machine loop.  In project 1, we are investigating stimuli-induced grip responses in the unimpaired human hand as inspiration for artificial grip reflexes in robotic and prosthetic hands.  Our precision pinch grasp task is designed to elicit both adduction/abduction and flexion/extension responses to better understand their coordinated efforts to right a perturbed object.  In project 2, we are developing a MEMS capacitive-based tactile skin for simultaneous measurement of normal forces, shear forces, and localized vibrations.  In project 3, we are preparing to map artificial tactile sensor data to somatosensory cortical recordings from non-human primates during grasp tasks.  The goal is to stimulate the subject’s somatosensory cortex to provide a useful, conscious perception of tactile feedback from artificial fingertips.

Host: Wendy Murray