CHARM LAB Main/Michele Rotella

Michele Rotella

Contact Information

Michele Rotella
Graduate Student
Mechanical Engineering Dept.
Stanford University

Collaborative Haptics in Robotics and Medicine (CHARM) Laboratory
424 Panama Mall, Bldg. 560
Stanford, CA 94305


B.S. Engineering Science: Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Concentration
(with Honors)
The College of New Jersey
Dec 2009


Design of a Wearable Vibrotactile Feedback System for Posture Guidance

HAPI Bands: Haptic Augmented Posture Interface

Johns Hopkins University, Haptics Laboratory, 2011

The HAPIBands system is a wearable device that performs the role of a posture coach, helping a user maintain static poses of the upper body. Motion of the user's body is tracked in space via the Microsoft Kinect range camera. While the Kinect records 3D position of upper body joints in space, it cannot capture rotation of the arm about its axis. Body-mounted accelerometers record arm orientation information and complete sensing in 6 DOF (degrees of freedom).
To interact with the system, the sensing and software capture a desired upper body pose. As the user misaligns his body from the "target" he receives vibration feedback from eccentric mass motors mounted on the interior of 5 bands worn on the body. Vibration signals are unique in that they are applied to the misaligned body segment and indicate the direction that the user should move to correct the misalignment. Joint-errors from the target are measured in real-time and a single tactile display is given to help user correct the joint with greatest misalignment. A total of 15 DOFs are corrected. Initial testing in a pose-recall task indicated that the haptic feedback was as effective visual feedback in helping user's locate target positions in space.

Current work on this project includes the implementation of a wireless solution, feedback to multiple joints simultaneously, and performance testing in application-specific tasks, such as yoga. Future work includes the extension of the system to include both upper and lower body, in addition to correction of full motion trajectories.

Design of an Orthotic Hand Exoskeleton

PC-HAND: Pressure Controlled Hand Assistive and Non-Cumbrous Device

The College of New Jersey, Bioinstrumentation Laboratory, 2009

The goal of this collaborative senior design project was to design and build an orthotic hand exoskeleton for individuals with loss of muscle control in the hand. The proposed design was novel in that it included actuation of both pinch and grasp movements. The three-digit exoskeleton resembled a glove, where phalanges were enclosed by cylindrical bands and actuated by linear actuators. Features of the design included a cable tendon-drive mechanism, a passive spring extension mechanism, and control of flexion and extension via low-profile pressure sensors. Further assessment of device force-amplification was studied via electromyography (EMG) signals recorded from the forearm.

Project website:

Remapping of High-Dimensional Hand Movements to Low Dimensional Control Signals

SINE-Summer Internship in Neural Engineering

Northwestern University, Rehab. Institute of Chicago, Robotics Laboratory, 2008

This project investigated motor system learning of body-machine interfaces that help impaired individuals perform fundamental mobility and communication tasks. To use such an interface successfully, one must learn the remapping a high dimensional control signal (such as eye movement) to a low-dimensional task signal (such as wheelchair navigation). The goal of the project was to investigate how the motor system learns this remapping and handles the redundancy in tasks with fewer degrees of freedom. Joint angles of the hand collected via a CyberGlove were mapped to the position of a cursor in a 2-dimensional “binned” workspace. Subjects used hand postures to acquire a series of target bins of increasing resolution. Results showed hand postures corresponding to adjacent targets were most similar. This indicated that remapping was learned by the realization of a continuous space, despite discrete feedback of successful target completion.



M. F. Rotella, K. Guerin, X. He, and A. M. Okamura. HAPI Bands: A Haptic Augmented Posture Interface. In Proceedings IEEE Haptics Symposium, pp. 163-170, 2012.

T.L. Gibo, M.F. Rotella, A.J. Bastian, A.M. Okamura. Gradual anisometric-isometric transition for human-machine interfaces. 33rd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2011.

M.F. Rotella, K.E. Reuther, C.L. Hofmann, E.B. Hage, B.F.BuSha. An Orthotic Hand-Assistive Exoskeleton for Actuated Pinch and Grasp. Proceedings of the IEEE 35th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference (Poster/Paper), April 2009.

D. Bucci, M. Rotella, S. Fathima, E. Hage, C. Hofmann, K. Reuther. A Pressure Controlled, Hand-Assistive Exoskeleton for Actuated Pinch and Grasp. IEEE Gold: Region I Student Paper Competition, April 2009.