Overview - Request an Event - Future Events - Past Events - Resources


Copyright: Intuitive Surgical

We create robots and human-computer interfaces that use haptics in order to improve human health, safety, and quality of life. The word haptics refers to the sense of touch. Applications of our research include:

  • Robot-assisted surgery: We design systems that help surgeons perform surgery less invasively and more accurately by teleoperating surgical instruments that are inserted into the patient's body through tiny incisions
  • Simulation and training: We create virtual environments to help clinicians perform successful medical interventions using novel, computer-generated models of tissues and organs
  • Rehabilitation: We are developing robotic devices that guide or resist patient movements in order to help them re-learn how to move naturally after stroke
  • Prosthetics: We are testing novel haptic interfaces that aim to provide prosthesis wearers with a sense of touch
  • Teleoperation: We enable exploration of hazardous or remote environments by means of robotic manipulation from a distance
  • Education: We design educational haptic systems that help students understand concepts in math, science, and engineering

At the CHARM Lab, we want to share our passion for engineering research and discovery. We are excited to reach out to the community and provide people of all ages and backgrounds with the opportunity to discover the potential of robotics to improve our lives and inspire interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics. We believe that everyone, from young elementary school students to young-at-heart seniors, can learn something new from the unique study of human-robot interaction. Potential users of our technology, including visually impaired people, patients with movement deficits, and clinicians can especially benefit from learning about this work. In addition, we particularly encourage participation of underrepresented groups in engineering, and want to show young girls that their involvement in science, technology, and engineering can improve our world.

(Back to head)

How to request an event with the CHARM Lab

  • If you are a representative of a school or other non-profit organization and you wish to organize a visit to our lab, we invite you to contact our outreach coordinators Nathaniel Agharese -> mailto:%20agharese [snail] stanford [period] edu and Brian Do -> mailto:brianhdo [snail] stanford [period] edu. Please provide us with as much relevant information as possible, including: a description of your school/organization, your position in the organization, the target audience and how will your audience benefit from visiting our lab, number of participants/visitors, schedule constraints, and particular interests. Use "CHARM Lab OUTREACH" as the subject of your email. Please note that it may take several weeks before we answer your email. This may be because we are trying to accommodate previous requests with the schedule of our lab. Additionally, due to the physical size constraints of our lab, the absolute maximum number of students per outreach event is 30. We will make our best efforts to answer each email request, and suggest alternative opportunities to meet us at public events if we are overwhelmed with visit requests.
  • If you wish to meet our lab at a public event, below is a list of upcoming events (some of which are public).

(Back to head)

Past CHARM Outreach Events

  • On November 6, 2017, 25 students from Piedmont Middle School in San Jose visited the CHARM lab. They were greeted by Brian Do who gave a lecture on haptics and haptic technologies. The students were then given demos of various projects in the CHARM lab by Nathan Usevitch, Matthew Gilbertson, Darrel Deo, Yuhang Che, and Zonghe Chua.

  • On October 12, 2017, CHARM hosted 35 high school students from Leadership Public Schools in Hayward, CA. The group was hosted by the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program. Darrel Deo welcomed the students with a brief introduction to haptics and haptic technologies and applications to the medical sciences and entertainment. Afterwards, the students were given demos by Laura Blumenschein, Nathan Usevitch, Matthew Gilbertson, Margaret Coad, Jacob Suchoski, and Steve Burke.

  • On August 2, 2017, the RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) summer interns visited the CHARM lab. Darrel Deo first gave a lecture on haptics and then the interns received demos from Margaret Koehler, Nathan Usevitch, Nathaniel Agharese, Elliot Hawkes, Sean Sketch, Melisa Orta, and Margaret Coad on our various haptic and robotics projects.

  • On July 17, 2017, students of the Summer Solar Academy from Oakland, CA went on a tour of the CHARM Lab. The group received demos from Nathaniel Agharese, Elliot Hawkes, Giada Gerboni, Melisa Orta, and Margaret Coad. Darrel ended the tour with a wrap-up session answering questions about robotics, haptics, and college applications.

  • On April 3, 2017, the CHARM Lab hosted a group of high school girls attending the GAINS conference at Stanford. They were given a tour of the CHARM Lab and demos of projects and haptic technologies from Darrel, Giada, Jake, Sean, Elliot, and Yasu.

  • On March 3, 2017, the CHARM Lab visited the Franklin Elementary School in San Jose. Melisa gave a presentation on haptics while Darrel Deo, Cara Welker, Tania Morimoto, Elliot Hawkes, Laura Blumenschein, Margaret Koehler, Julie Walker, Samuel Schorr, Yuhang Che, and Cole Simpson gave demos of haptic devices and technologies.

  • On October 27, 2016, 7th and 8th grade students from the St. Anthony School in Atwater took a tour of the CHARM Lab. Allison greeted the students on arrival and gave a lecture on haptics. Afterwards, the students were given demos of various CHARM projects by Darrel Deo, Giada Gerboni, Elliot Hawkes, Joey Greer, and Margeret Coad.

  • On September 29, 2016, students from the Health Academy at North Salinas High School took a tour of the CHARM Lab. They were greeted by Allison and given a lecture on haptics and then were shown demos by Darrel, Sean, Julie, Elliot, Laura, Giada and Nathan.

  • On March 3, 2016, the BDML, DDL, and CHARM lab hosted a large group of students from Rosemary Elementary School in San Jose. In one of our largest tours to date, the students received a talk about robotics, car research, and haptics followed by tours and an activity demonstrating simple physics of balloon-propelled toy cars.

  • On Oct 15, 2015, students from the Windermere Ranch Middle School visited our lab. Kirsten gave them a lecture on haptics and then they received demos from Margaret, Yuhang, Heather, Andrew, Elliot and Nathan on our Hapkit, teleoperation, haptic environments, pneumatic actuators, and surgical robot control and feedback.

  • On July 23, 2015, students from the Girl Code program visited our lab. Allison first gave them a lecture on haptics and then showed them demos on our Hapkit and virtual haptic environments.

  • On July 22, 2015, the RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) summer interns visited our lab. Allison first gave them a lecture on haptics and then they received demos from Teresa, Alyssa, Sean, Coleen, Aaron and Brice on our Hapkit, teleoperation, haptic environments, surgical robot control and feedback.

  • On May 29 2015, Nick Colonnese went to Spiritridge Elementary in Bellevue Washington and gave a talk on Robotics.

  • On April 15 2015, students from Hillview Middle School visited our lab. Allison first gave them a lecture on haptics and then they received demos from Sean, Nick, Troy, Kirk and Zhan Fan on our Hapkit, teleoperation, haptic environments, skin stretch, surgical robot control and feedback and manipulation of Neuroprosthetic Devices.

  • On November first 2014 we went to the Bay Area Science Festival at AT&T park. We brought demos on haptic environments, teleoperation and our Hapkit!

  • On October 20 2014, students from the SCOPE homeschool group visited our lab. Allison first gave them a lecture on haptics and then they received demos from Sean, Julie, Lizmarie, Kirk and Zhan Fan on our Hapkit, teleoperation, haptic environments, skin stretch and manipulation of Neuroprosthetic Devices.

  • On July 11, 2014, students from the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program 2014 visited our lab. SMYSP is a program which bolsters student's science skills while introducing them to a host of health-related careers. In our lab, SMYSP students were first given a lecture on haptics by our advisor, Allison Okamura, and then demos by Kelly, Sean, Darrel, Yee and Lizmarie. In these demos the students learned about HAPKITs, needle steering, haptic brain computer interfaces, teleoperation and haptic rendering devices.

  • On May 22, 2014, we hosted a Young Women in Bio Visit and Panel. YWIB is a special initiative of Women In Bio, designed to introduce school girls to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Melisa, Tanya, Darrel, Joey, and Ilana presented the girls demos of haptic devices, teleoperation, HAPKITs, and a surgical robot. After the demos, over pizza, we answered questions that the girls had about graduate school, our own academic paths and how various the ways to become a haptics and robotic researcher are, and about the specific challenges and advantages female roboticists may have. They wrote about their visit and you can read about it here .
  • On May 2, 2014, the Health Science and Technology students of Duncan Polytechnical High School from Fresno visited our lab. In addition to showing them the da Vinci surgical robot, teleoepration, haptic virtual reality, HAPKITS, and our needle steering robot, they were very curious about our professional paths, and Darrel, Cliff, Lawrence, Lizmarie, Kelly, and Ilana talked with them about graduate school life and the research career path.
  • On April 24, 2014, we hosted the juniors of the Manteca High School Health Science Pathway. They learned from Melisa, Kelly, Lawrence, Ryder, and Kirk about needle steering, teleoperation, and haptics.
  • On March 24, 2014 we hosted a group of educators from Mongolia, including deans and presidents of universities in the country (!), and staff from the Ministry of Education, who were hosted in Stanford by Tony Kim for a week-long conference in engineering education
  • On February 13, 2014, we hosted a group of 8th graders from the Bayside STEM Academy (Middle) School.
  • On January 16, 2014, we hosted the Livermore High School GetSet (Girls Exploring Technology, Science, and Engineering Together) program in our lab! The Tri-Valley high school girls who are particularly interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, learned about teleoperation, flexible needles steering through tissue, computer generated simulation of touch, robotic surgery, and particle jamming haptics.
  • On November 12, 2013, we hosted a tour of 7th and 8th graders from the Ceaser Chavez academy in East Palo Alto
  • On November 2, 2013, Yuhang, Margaret, Ann, Sean, and Ilana presented haptics and teleoperation demos at the Bay Area Science Festival - Discovery Days at AT&T Park. They were at the Robot Petting Zoo at Willie Mays Plaza, and got exciting responses from kids who teleoperated a pair of Omni haptic devices, touched a virtual cube, and played with different textures and environments rendered with the Hapkit (thanks to Tania for preparing the Hapkits for us!).
  • On Thursday, September 12, 2013, Ann gave a presentation as part of a STEM colloquium series at Presentation High School, an all-girls Catholic school in San Jose. The talk focused on different robotic technologies to improve human health and featured an interactive "Mythbusters" section. After brainstorming reasons why women don't want to go into engineering, Ann tried to dispel these myths and encouraged the girls to not let anything hold them back. After the talk, the girls got to feel the Hapkit haptic paddles and Ann had a great time talking with many of the girls individually about their career aspirations.
  • On Thursday, August 8, 2013, we hosted 40 businesspeople and entrepreneurs from Hong Kong (organized by Stanford SLAC researcher Walter Mok).
  • On Thursday, August 1, 2013, we also hosted a group of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California as part of their Travel Camp trip focused on women in science and engineering. We enjoyed telling them how robotic devices can be used in rehabilitation, education, and space teleoperation!
  • On Thursday, August 1, 2013, we hosted a camp of 7th and 8th graders from Castilleja School in Palo Alto. The purpose of the camp is to expose the students to various industries and open their eyes to new worlds. Our focus was the world of Robotics and Medicine within the Stanford Campus. We enjoyed the enthusiastic questions of the girls!
  • On Thursday, July 25, 2013, we demonstrated 8 different CHARM Lab systems to 50 business students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (organized by Stanford SLAC researcher Walter Mok).
  • On Wednesday, June 20th, 2013, we hosted a group of undergraduate summer researchers from UC Merced. We talked about the lab, showed a few demos, and Sam and Ann spent a little time sharing their stories for deciding to go to graduate school and what they want to do after. We had a great time talking with the group and also learned a bit about the research they are doing this summer - lots of cool work related to sustainability!
  • On Friday, April 26th, 2013, we hosted the students of Sequoyah Highschool in Redwood City. We all had great time showing them around our lab. They even got the chance to take a glance at the Stanford autonomous racing car that happened to be outside at the Engineering quad!.
  • On March 25nd, 2013, Allison and Lester taught 2nd graders (our daughter's class!) at Huff Elementary School in Mountain View about building structures. Students built Squinky towers out of playing cards and tape. The tower had to be at least a foot tall and withstand the wind from a hairdryer that was a foot away. (The more robust towers got the hairdryer turned on "high"!) Then the students calculated the "cost" of their towers -- at $2 per playing card.
  • On March 22nd, 2013, CHARM Lab participated in the 2nd annual Warm Springs Day of Innovation. We showed 5 and 6 graders from the Warm Springs Elementary School how robotic teleoperation feels, and how you can generate virtual touchable objects with the help of computer and a robotic device. Ryder, Michele, Ann, Ashley, and Sam participated. Thanks to teacher Clyde Mann for inviting us!
  • On February 5th, 2013, Canyon Middle School 8th grade students visited the CHARM Lab. They got to try out some of our research projects - they palpated lumps in tissue through teleoperation with different forms of force feedback with Zhan Fan, tried out a rehabilitation robot with Tricia, steered virtual flexible needles with Ann, and touched particle-jammed haptic display array with Andrew.
  • The students in Allison Okamura's course ME327: Design and Control of Haptic Systems demonstrated their final projects in a public event on Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 10 am to 12 pm in the Bldg. 550 atrium. 10 projects related to the theme of Haptics in Education were available for hands-on demonstrations. 50 high school students from Ann Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, CA came with their physics teacher (and Robotics/Engineering club advisor) Peng Yav to try out the demonstrations and learn about haptics through a special lecture and lab tour. Interested in the results of these projects, as well as the students' progress leading up to the demonstration day? Check out http://charm.stanford.edu/ME327. Thank you to the students of ME327 for sharing their projects in this outreach event!
  • On March 21st, 2012, CHARM Lab postdoc Ilana Nisky gave a lecture to the Hadassah Sequoya Chapter in Los Altos, CA, about Man, machine, and in between .
  • On January 4th, 2012, the CHARM Lab hosted the Castilleja school robotics club, an all-girls FIRST robotics team.

(Back to head)

Resources Where can I learn more?

CHARM lab (and collaborator) presentations

CHARM lab in the media

Other Outreach Opportunities

(Back to head)