CHARM LAB Main/Ilana Nisky

Ilana Nisky


Contact Information - Research - Education - Publications - Miscellaneous

Contact Information

Ilana Nisky
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University

CHARM Laboratory
424 Panama Mall,
Building 560, Room 216
Stanford, CA 94305
nisky@stanford.edu

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Research

Research Interests

Robotics, Robotic surgery, Teleoperation, Haptics, Control theory, Computational motor control, Brain theory (Neuroscience), Learning in human and machines, Human-machine interfaces.

Current Projects

Human Motor Performance in Robot-Assisted Surgery

in collaboration with Prof. Michael Hsieh

The inherent dynamics of the master manipulator of a teleoperated robot-assisted surgery (RAS) system can affect the movements of a human operator, in comparison with free-space movements. To measure the effects of these dynamics on human operators with differing levels of surgical expertise, a da Vinci Si system was instrumented with a custom surgeon grip fixture and magnetic pose trackers on the tip of the master manipulator and surgeon’s arm. We start with comparing users’ performance of canonical motor control movements – reach and reversal movements – during teleoperation with the manipulator and freehand cursor control. We plan to study more clinically relevant 3D motions in the next stage of the project. These findings could impact robot design, control, and training methods for RAS.

Rehabilitation Robotics

I am collaborating with Michelle Rotella and Margaret Koehler, and we are investigating how people learn to perform reaching movements in a virtual environment that requires only static force input. We are comparing different control strategies for mapping force input to cursor movement, with the goal of selecting a strategy that is most similar to natural movement. We explore how the motor system learns isometric tasks and in which coordinates space the internal model is learned: hand or joint? Ultimately, we will test whether learning virtual reaching in an isometric environment will transfer to dynamic reaching, with the goal of developing patient-specific rehabilitation strategies.

Skin Stretch Feedback

During everyday interaction with objects using a stylus-like device, we often experience both kinesthetic force feedback and cutaneous skin stretch feedback. In collaboration with Zhan Fan Queck, Sam Schorr, and Prof. William Provancher, we are investigating the use of imposing artificial skin stretch as a haptic feedback or augmentation method. We hypothesize that skin stretch feedback could be an intuitive feedback modality to replace force feedback when compared with other current sensory substitution methods such as vision and audio feedback. Through a series of psychophysical experiments, we characterize users' ability to discriminate between surfaces of different stiffness using skin stretch feedback. We also hypothesize that by imposing artificial skin stretch cues in addition to kinesthetic force feedback, we can augment the perception of stiffness by a user. Such sensory augmentation is useful in situations where the gain of force feedback has to be low for stability and safety reasons, such as surgical teleoperation. We explore how the artificial skin stretch is integrated with kinesthetic force feedback and proprioceptive motion information to create a single percept of stiffness.

Past Projects

These projects were performed at the Computational Motor Control Lab at BGU under the supervision of Prof. Amir Karniel

The effect of delay on perception of stiffness

We explored human perception in contact with haptic devices that emulated a remote environment. We found that delay between the force applied by an environment and the movement that caused it yields overestimation or underestimation of stiffness depending on the probing interaction with the environment. In addition, we found a proximal-distal gradient in the amount of underestimation of delayed stiffness in the transition between probing with shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. To account for these results, we suggested a simple, unifying, computational model for perception of stiffness: a convex combination of the estimation of stiffness and the inverse of estimation of compliance; this implies that humans combine force and position control in their exploratory movements.

Gap between perception and action

We developed a new paradigm for testing the effect of delay on the performance of an objective motor task, rather than a subjective declarative perception of stiffness. We have introduced the term “motormetric” analysis to designate procedures that are based on observable motor actions for assessing the evolution of perceptual models, in contrast to psychometric analysis which is based on answers of human participants. Later, we extended this method to explore the effect of delay on perception and action in contact with a force field that emulated the forces exerted during a teleoperated needle insertion, within a single experiment. Using this paradigm, we found that there is a gap between the cognitive and motor-related effects of delay on the representation of the stiffness of linear as well as needle-insertion-like force fields. The perceptual component was consistent with the regression-based model for perception of stiffness.

Perceptuomotor transparency in bilateral teleoperation

We have demonstrated the feasibility of a paradigm shift in the development of transparent bilateral teleoperation systems—from a system-centered to a human operator-centered approach by developing a novel framework for addressing the fidelity of bilateral teleoperation systems. According to this framework, the teleoperation channel does not have to be flawless, or even nearly so. Rather, the emphasis is on the subjective experience of the operator and on the successful outcomes of the operation. We suggested and demonstrated a framework for approaching transparency in non-ideal systems by exploiting the gap between perception and action. This is achieved by selecting appropriate controllers and training protocol to obtain perceptually transparent teleoperation and remote motor transparency without local motor transparency. We developed this framework analytically and demonstrated it using simulations followed by experimental studies in virtual and actual teleoperation.

Turing-like handshake test

In the Turing test, a computer model is deemed to “think intelligently” if it can generate answers that are indistinguishable from those of a human. We proposed a Turing-like handshake test for testing motor aspects of machine intelligence. The test is administered through a telerobotic system in which an interrogator holds a robotic stylus and interacts with another party – human, artificial, or a linear combination of the two. My contribution to the Handshake Project was to develop the methodology for assessing the human likeness of handshake using the forced choice paradigm. This methodology was employed in the Handshake Tournament.

Perception of stiffness in laparoscopy

We explored how the perception of stiffness can be distorted in Minimally Invasive Surgery. We combined mechanical simulator with haptic device, and implemented linear springs at the tip of the simulated laparoscopic device. To explore the influence of mechanical advantage on perception, we set different values of the ratio between internal and external length of the tool.

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Education

Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, 2011
M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering (Summa cum Laude), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, 2009
B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering (Summa cum Laude), Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, 2006

CV

Nisky CV

Selected Awards

  1. 2012 European Commission FP7 Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship
  2. 2011 Weizmann Institute of Science National Postdoctoral Award for Advancing Women in Science
  3. 2011 Best Poster Award (2nd place) at the The Israeli Society for Medical and Biological Engineering Annual meeting
  4. 2011 BGU Rector excellence award for PhD students
  5. 2010 Israel Association for Automatic Control Student Travel Stipend
  6. 2010 Ehud Ben-Amitai prize for excellent research in aerospace sciences (for the study of transparency in teleoperation)
  7. 2010 The Wolf scholarship award for excellent doctoral students
  8. 2009 Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience Award for excellence in research
  9. 2009 Best student paper award at the IEEE Virtual Rehabilitation International Conference
  10. 2009 – 2011 Clore Scholars Programme Fellowship
  11. 2009 Best poster award at the 5th computational motor control workshop
  12. 2009 Best Poster Award (3rd place) at the The Israeli Society for Medical and Biological Engineering Annual meeting
  13. 2009 BGU Dean of Engineering excellence award for PhD students
  14. 2008 Best Poster Award (1st place) at the The Israeli Society for Medical and Biological Engineering Annual meeting
  15. 2006 – 2010 Kreitman Foundation Fellowship

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Publications

Journal Papers

  1. Nisky I., Okamura A., and Hsieh M. (in press) “Effects of Robotic Manipulators on movements of novices and surgeons”, accepted for publication in Surgical Endoscopy. [ms]
  2. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2013) “Analytical study of perceptual and motor transparency in bilateral teleoperation”, IEEE Transactions on Human Machine Systems, 43(6):570-582 [ms]
  3. Ostrovsky E. , Zelig U., Gusakova I., Ariad S., Mordechai S., Nisky I.*, Kapilushnik Y.* (2013) “Detection of cancer using advanced computerized analysis of infrared spectra of peripheral blood”, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 60(2):343-353, *Equal contribution
  4. Avraham G., Nisky I., Fernandes H.L., Acuna D.E., Kording K.P., Loeb G.E., and Karniel A., (2012) “Towards perceiving robots as humans – three handshake models face the Turing-like Handshake test”, IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 5(3): 196-207 Featured on issue cover
  5. Nisky I., Avraham G., and Karniel A. (2012) “Three alternatives to measure the human-likeness of a handshake model in a Turing-like test.”, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 21(2):156–182 [ms]
  6. Nisky I., Pressman A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2011) "Perception and action in teleoperated needle insertion," IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 4(3): 155-166
  7. Karniel A., Avraham G., Peles BC., Levy-Tzedek S., and Nisky I. (2010) "One dimensional Turing-like handshake test for motor intelligence", Journal of Visualized Experiments, 46: e2492
  8. Nisky I., Baraduc P., and Karniel A. (2010) "Proximodistal gradient in the perception of delayed stiffness",Journal of Neurophysiology, 103(6): 3017-3026
  9. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2008) “A regression and boundary-crossing based model for the perception of delayed stiffness,” IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 1(2): 73-83
  10. Pressman A., Nisky I., Karniel A., and Mussa-Ivaldi F.A. (2008) "Probing Virtual Boundaries and the Perception of Delayed Stiffness," Advanced Robotics, 22(1): 119-140

Conference Proceedings

  1. Quek Z., Schorr S., Nisky I., Provancher W., and Okamura A (2014) “Sensory substitution using 3-Degree-of-Freedom Tangential and Normal Skin Deformation Feedback”, long oral presentation at the 2014 Haptics Symposium, Huston, TX, Best student paper award
  2. Nisky I., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “The Effect of a Robot-Assisted Surgical System on the Kinematics of User Movements”, the 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Osaka, Japan
  3. Kuroda Y., Nisky I., Uranishi Y., Imura M., Okamura A., Oshiro O. (2013) “Novel Algorithm for Real-Time Onset Detection of Surface Electromyography in Step-Tracking Wrist Movements”, the 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Osaka, Japan
  4. Rotella M., Koehler M., Nisky I., Bastian A., and Okamura A. (2013) “Adaptation to Visuomotor Rotation in Isometric Reaching is Similar to Movement Adaptation”, 13th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, Seattle, Washington.
  5. Nisky I., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “A Framework for Analysis of Surgeon Arm Posture Variability in Robot-Assisted Surgery”, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp: 245-251. talk
  6. Schorr S., Quek Z., Romano R., Nisky I., Provancher W., and Okamura A. (2013) “Sensory substitution via cutaneous skin stretch feedback”, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp: 2333-2338
  7. Quek Z., Schorr S., Nisky I., Okamura A., and Provancher W. (2013) “Sensory augmentation of virtual stiffness using finger pad skin stretch”, Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference, Daejeon, Korea, pp:467-472
  8. Nisky I., Patil S., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “Kinematic Analysis of Motor Performance in Robot-Assisted Surgery: A Preliminary Study”, in: Studies in Health Technology and Information, 184: 302-308
  9. Nisky I., Huang F.C., Milstein A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2012) “Perception of stiffness in laparoscopy – the fulcrum effect”, in: Studies in Health Technology and Information, 173: 313-319 pdf
  10. Nisky I., Pressman A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2010) "Perception and action in simulated telesurgery", in: A.M.L. Kappers et al. (Eds.): EuroHaptics 2010, Part I, LNCS 6191, pp. 213-218. Springer, Heidelberg. Finalist in the best poster award competition
  11. Karniel A., Nisky I., Avraham G., Peles BC., and Levy-Tzedek S. (2010) "A Turing-like handshake test for motor intelligence", in: A.M.L. Kappers et al. (Eds.): EuroHaptics 2010, Part I,LNCS 6191, pp. 197-204. Springer, Heidelberg.
  12. Leib R., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2010) "Perception of stiffness during interaction with delay-like nonlinear stiffness", in: A.M.L. Kappers et al. (Eds.): EuroHaptics 2010, Part I, LNCS 6191, pp. 87-92. Springer, Heidelberg.
  13. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2010) "Bilateral teleoperation – human operator centered approach", proceedings of 50th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences, IACAS 2010, Israel.pdf
  14. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2009) "Proximodistal gradient in the perception of delayed stiffness", proceedings of Virtual Rehabilitation 2009 International Conference, VR2009, Haifa, Israel, pp: 105-110. Best student paper award.
  15. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2008) "Perceptuo-motor transparency in bilateral teleoperation", proceedings of the ASME 2008 9th Biennial Conference on Engineering Systems Design and Analysis, ESDA2008, Haifa, Israel ,vol.: 2, pp.: 449-456 pdf

Book Chapters

  1. Nisky I., Leib R., Milstein A., and Karniel A. (2014) “Perception of stiffness with force feedback delay”, in: Multisensory Softness, Editor: Massimiliano Di Luca, Springer, accepted for publication.
  2. Jarc A. and Nisky I. (2014) “Application and exploration of sensorimotor coordination strategies in surgical robotics”, in: Metrics of sensory motor integration in robots and animals, Springer Cosmos Series, accepted for publication.

Patents

  1. Nisky I., Huang F.C., Pugh C.M., Patton, J., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. “Extendable handle for laparoscopic device and for laparoscopic simulator”, US Patent application 61/592,016 (provisional), filed Jan 30, 2012.

Abstracts

  1. Nisky I., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2014) “The effect of robotic manipulation on movement kinematics and variability in experienced surgeons and novice users of a da Vinci Si system”, IDEAS (Innovation, Design, and Emerging Alliances in Surgery) Symposium: “Surgical Robotics: From Principles to Practice”, Boston, MA. Best poster award
  2. Nisky I., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “Studying Human Motor Control in Robot-Assisted Surgery”, the ninth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  3. Rotella M., Koehler M., Nisky I., Bastian A., and Okamura A. (2013) “Adaptation to Visuomotor Rotation in Isometric Virtual Reach Task”, the ninth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  4. Leib R., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2013) “Formation of Stiffness Perception: Evidence from Grip Force Modulation”, the ninth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  5. Nisky I., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “Sensorimotor Performance in Robot-Assisted Surgery”, accepted to the 23rd Annual Meeting of Neural Control of Movement (NCM) Society, Puerto Rico
  6. Rotella M., Koehler M., Nisky I., Bastian A., and Okamura A. (2013) “Transfer of isometric motor learning depends on the mapping of force input to cursor movement”, accepted to the 23rd Annual Meeting of Neural Control of Movement (NCM) Society, Puerto Rico
  7. Nisky I., Patil S., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2013) “Kinematic Analysis of Motor Performance in Robot-Assisted Surgery: Implications for Robot Design and Surgical Training”, accepted to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, San-Diego, California, CA.
  8. Nisky I., Patil S., Hsieh M., and Okamura A. (2012) “Kinematic Analysis of Motor Performance with a Robot-Assisted Surgical System”, Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium, Stanford, CA.
  9. Schorr S., Quek Z., Romano R., Nisky I., Provancher W., and Okamura O. (2012) “Skin stretch feedback as possible sensory substitute for force feedback”, Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium, Stanford, CA.
  10. Nisky I., Hsieh M., Karniel A., and Okamura A. (2012) “The Role of Surgeon Perceptuomotor Performance in Robot-Assisted Surgery”, Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium, Stanford, CA.
  11. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2011) “Transparency for telesurgery”, 23rd Conference of the Society for Medical Innovation and Technology, Tel Aviv, Israel.
  12. Nisky I., Huang F.C., Milstein A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2011) “Perception of stiffness in laparoscopy – the fulcrum effect”, the seventh annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  13. Avraham G., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2011) “When Robots Become Humans: A Turing-like Handshake Test”, the seventh annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  14. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2011) “Human operator centered approach to telesurgery”, 2010 ISMBE Annual Meeting, Tel-Aviv, Israel, Best poster award 2nd place
  15. Nisky I. (2011) "Transparency in bilateral teleoperation", Israeli Association for Automatic Control workshop: "Control of Time-Delay Systems: A Tutorial Introduction", Hertzelia, Israel, (Invited)
  16. Nisky I., Pressman A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2010) "Perception and action in simulated needle insertion task", 2010 Society for Neuroscience Meeting, San-Diego, CA
  17. Nisky I., Pressman A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2010) "Perception and action in simulated needle insertion task", the sixth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  18. Nisky I., Pressman A., Pugh C.M., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2010) "Perception of stiffness during simulated needle insertion", 2010 ISMBE Annual Meeting, at the 18th International Exhibition for Medical Technologies, Pharmaceuticals, and Hospital Supplies, Tel-Aviv, Israel
  19. Leib R., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2009) "Perception of nonlinear stiffness" the fifth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  20. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2009) "Proximo-distal gradient in perception of delayed stiffness", the fifth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. NAN Instruments best poster award
  21. Leib R., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2009) "Perception of nonlinear stiffness" the BME students conference at Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Best poster award 1st place
  22. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2009) "Proximo-distal gradient in perception of delayed stiffness", 2009 ISMBE Annual Meeting, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Best poster award 3rd place
  23. Nisky I. (2009) "Perceptuomotor transparency in bilateral teleoperation", Graduate Students in Systems and Control workshop, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  24. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2008) “Proximo-distal gradient in perception of delayed stiffness - A combined force position control?”, the 17th Annual Meeting of the Israel Society for Neuroscience, Eilat, Israel.
  25. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2008) “Does the brain use force or position control when probing the stiffness of virtual elastic force fields?”, Program No. 465.14. 2008 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, DC.
  26. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2008) ” Is there a proximo-distal gradient in the perception of stiffness of virtual delayed elastic force fields, and is it related to the combination of force and position control during probing?”, the fourth annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  27. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2008) "Perceptuo-motor Transparency in Bilateral Teleoperation," 2008 ISMBE Annual Meeting, at the 17th International Exhibition for Medical Technologies and Hospital Supplies, Tel-Aviv, Israel. Best poster award 1st place
  28. Klein B., Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2008) "Haptic representation of medical imaging data", 2008 ISMBE Annual Meeting, at the 17th International Exhibition for Medical Technologies and Hospital Supplies, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
  29. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2007) "Perceptuo-motor Transparency in Bilateral Teleoperation", Innovations in Rehabilitation Technology Workshop, Jerusalem, Israel
  30. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2007) “Perceptuo-motor Transparency in Bilateral Teleoperation”, the 16th Annual Meeting of the Israel Society for Neuroscience, Eilat, Israel.
  31. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2007) “Regression based model for human perception of delayed stiffness”, the third annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  32. Ben-Shimon N., Nisky I., and Amir Karniel. (2007) “Motor Memory – does it address the past or the future?”, the third annual computational motor control workshop at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
  33. Nisky I., (2007) “Perception of Stiffness in Bilateral Teleoperation", Graduate Students in Systems and Control workshop, Technion, Haifa, Israel.
  34. Nisky I., Pressman A., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2007) "Perception of and adaptation to delayed spring-like surface," the 17th Annual Meeting of Neural Control of Movement (NCM) Society, Seville, Spain.
  35. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2007) "Declarative and motor-metric perception of virtual delayed spring-like surfaces." the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience Annual meeting, Nitzana, Israel
  36. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2006), “Perception of Stiffness through Bilateral Teleoperation,” the 2nd Computational Motor Control Workshop, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel
  37. Nisky I., Mussa-Ivaldi F.A., and Karniel A. (2006), “Perception of Stiffness through Bilateral Teleoperation,” the Israeli Conference on Robotics, ICR, Tel Aviv University, Israel
  38. Nisky I., and Karniel A. (2005), “Does the Brain Use Smith Predictor or Wave Variables Technique to Cope With Delay? (Preliminary investigation),” the 1st Computational Motor Control Workshop, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Press

English

Looking through the surgical keyhole - JPost

Hebrew

Hayadan Doctors Only

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Miscellaneous

I enjoy hiking, running, and bicycling with Uzi and our dogs Chillie, Pepper, and Zulu. Since arriving to California, we have also developed a new passion for rock climbing - very curious about the new adventures that this will lead to!

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