Lab News 2013-14

August 21, 2014

This is the last week for some of our summer undergraduates. The students are from Stanford and are participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) program, except where noted. Front row, left to right: Akzl Pultorak, Caroline Abbott, Caroline Fong, Alexa Siu (Georgia Tech, SSRP/Amgen summer program), Michael Lin Yang (UC Berkeley, NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Fellow), Sanjay Srinivas. Back row, left to right: Iris Yan, Jeanny Wang, Nina Jimenez, Sarah Cabreros. Congratulations to all our undergraduates for their fantastic summer work!

July 21, 2014

As a lab team building event, and a special goodbye to graduate student Ann Majewicz and postdocs Ilana Nisky and Ryder Winck, we did a lab kayaking tour at Half Moon Bay, beach/hike time, and dinner at Buca di Beppo in Palo Alto. In the late summer, all three of these CHARMers will be taking faculty positions! Ann will be starting in the Mechanical Engineering Department at University of Texas at Dallas, Ilana in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Ryder in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. We will miss all of them!

July 7, 2014

Ann Majewicz successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, "Robotic Needle Steering: Design and Evaluation for Clinical Application". Ann also walked in graduation and was hooded last month. Congratulations, Ann!

June 16, 2014

Our friend and collaborator Prof. Steven Hsiao at Johns Hopkins University died of lung cancer. He was the co-advisor of Ph.D. student Jim Gwilliam and served on the thesis committees of several other of Allison's students. Just a few weeks before Steve died, Jim's paper (with Steve as the senior author) was recognized as an "editor's pick" by the Journal of Neurophysiology. Remembrances of Steve are here. We will miss him sorely.

May 31-June 6, 2014

CHARMers Allison Okamura, Ann Majewicz, Ryder Winck, and Sean Sketch went to the 2014 International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong. Ann presented her work (in collaboration with Josh Siegel and Andrew Stanley) on duty-cycled needle steering, and Ryder presented his work (in collaboration with Sean Sketch and members of the BDML). Allison talked about educational haptics at the Workshop on MATLAB/Simulink for Robotics Education and Research, spoke at the ICRA Women's Lunch, and gave a talk at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. We had some great meals, including adventures in fresh seafood with the BDML and CamLab)!

May 30, 2014

Allison's class ME 327: Design and Control of Haptic Systems demonstrated their final projects along with students from CS 277 Experimental Haptics.

April 7, 2014

Congratulations to Ilana who won the best poster award under the "robotic-surgeon interface" category at the 2014 IDEAS Symposium on Surgical Robotics: from Principles to Practice that took place in Boston on April 5.

April 1, 2014

Someone hacked into our website and changed our "People" page! We managed to fix it, but we have captured this April Fool for posterity: Attach:AprilFool2014.pdf

March 21, 2014

Congratulations to Ann who won the best poster award at the 2014 NSF Early Career Professionals Workshop on Exploring New Frontiers in Cyber-Physical Systems that took place in Washington, DC on March 13-14. As part of her award, she will be attending CPS Week in Berlin this April.

February 28, 2014

Allison is a co-author on a paper on the role of haptic feedback in rhythmic motor control that was published in the Journal of Neurophysiology as a cover article (see below). This work was a collaboration with Noah Cowan's Limbs Lab at Johns Hopkins University, and was featured in this news article.

About the cover: Little is known about how haptic and visual feedback are integrated during rhythmic behaviors such as juggling and walking. To address this question, participants performed a simplified juggling task in which they used a haptic interface to bounce a ball on a paddle. A small impulsive force could be provided to the hand at the instant the ball struck the paddle. The addition of this timing cue dramatically improved juggling performance, likely by reducing the brain's uncertainty about the state of the ball. Photo by Josh Casey. From Ankarali MM, Sen HT, De A, Okamura AM, Cowan NJ. Haptic feedback enhances rhythmic motor control by reducing variability, not convergence rate. J Neurophysiol; published ahead of print December 26, 2013, doi:10.1152/jn.00140.2013.

February 26, 2014

Allison, Ilana, Tricia, Nick, Zhan Fan, Andrew, Tania, and Adam attended the 2014 IEEE Haptics Symposium in Houston Texas. Nick and Zhan Fan gave oral presentations, Tricia and Adam presented posters, and Zhan Fan, Andrew, and Tania gave demonstrations. Congratulations to Zhan Fan for winning the Best Student Paper Award! Many others were Finalists for awards, which is also a big honor (Adam/Andrew for Best Poster, Nick for Best Paper, Zhan Fan for Best Demo, and Tania for Best Demo).

Zhan Fan and Ilana being congratulated for the Best Student Paper Award.

November 19, 2013

Congratulations to Dr. Tricia Gibo for successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis! Tricia was co-advised by Allison Okamura and Amy Bastian. Starting in a couple months, she will be a postdoc at TU Delft in The Netherlands (in David Abbink's research group).

November 4, 2013

The Online Haptics Class has launched! A huge thanks to Tania, principal designer of Hapkit, collaborators Paulo Blikstein and Doug Miller, the Vice Provost for Online Learning (for sponsorship and course production/tech support), the National Science Foundation, and all the CHARM Lab members who helped assemble the Hapkit boxes for the online students (see image below).

October 22, 2013

Congrats to Tania Morimoto, Ryder Winck, and Jeff Kessler/Curtis Lovelace for giving well-received talks at the ASME Dynamic System and Control Conference today. Ann Majewicz and Nick Colonnese also gave very popular demonstrations -- there were long lines to try out needle steering and stable haptic renderings! Former visiting scholar also gave a talk at DSCC, and present his latest work at our lab meeting.

October 22, 2013

We are now accepting applications for the Online Haptics Class using Hapkits! (Applications due Oct. 28, class starts Nov. 4)

October 17-18, 2013

Allison visited robotics labs at EPFL and ETH Zurich. She got to see our former visiting student Mike Rinderknecht in his natural environment, and compare The ETHZ high-fidelity Haptic Paddles with our low-cost Hapkits.

October 15, 2013

Allison was featured on RoboHub's "25 women in robotics you need to know about" article in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day.

October 14, 2013

Our panel on "When AR meets the OR - Robotics and AR in Surgery" was accepted for SXSW 2014. Allison will present at South by Southwest (SXSW) (a film, interactive, and music festival) in March 2014, along with Prof. Katherine Kuchenbecker from UPenn and Catherine Mohr from Intuitive Surgical.

October 15, 2013

Today the CHARM Lab merges with the CamLab (Prof. David Camarillo's Bioengineering research group). The CamLab will share our space in MERL 126 until their new building is ready in mid-2014. Welcome, Cammies!

October 1-2, 2013

Allison and Ryder attended the National Robotics Initiative PI Meeting in Washington, DC. There were research presentations, posters, and workshops -- but unfortunately no program managers to see it due to the government shutdown!

September 27, 2013

Smooth Teleoperators