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Sensorimotor Control Meets Surgical Robotics

March 30, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
MERL Bldg 660, Room 203

Open to public

Sensorimotor Control Meets Surgical RoboticsAbstract:

During everyday interaction with the external world, for example during surgery, our brain graciously deals with a task that control engineers find very challenging – closed-loop control of movement and contact forces with outdated and noisy information that arrives from multiple sensors. To understand how this task is accomplished by the motor system, we use behavioral studies of integration of information across time, space, and modalities, for movement, object manipulation, and perception, and of how the motor system changes following adaptation and skill acquisition. This understanding is also important for improving the control of teleoperation and telepresence devices that are widely used in our tech-savvy world in a variety of applications such as interpersonal communication and medicine. For example, robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RAMIS), where a surgeon manipulates a pair of joysticks that teleoperate both instruments and a camera inside a patient's body, requires precise control of movement, object and tissue manipulation, and perception. Despite many advantages for both the patient and the surgeon, the full potential of RAMIS and other teleoperation applications is yet to be realized. Two of the major progress-impeding gaps, the lack of touch feedback and limited knowledge of how to measure skill and optimize training, could be bridged by applying models of surgeons’ sensorimotor control. I will present our recent findings in effort to answer basic and applied questions in human sensorimotor control focusing on manual interaction with virtual and real objects and specifically in the context of RAMIS.


Ilana Nisky received all her academic degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the CHARM lab of Stanford University, she returned to BGU, where she established and heads the Biomedical Robotics Lab. She received the prestigious Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship and the Alon Fellowship for Young Faculty. Her research interests include human motor control, haptics, robotics, human and machine learning, teleoperation, and robot-assisted surgery. She authored more than 50 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and numerous abstracts in international conferences, for which she received several Best Paper and Best Poster awards. She is an executive committee member of the EuroHaptics Society and a board member of the Israeli Society for Medical and Biological Engineering.

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Design Group, Mechanical Engineering
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