Jeremy D. Brown, Ph.D.
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Johns Hopkins University
“Understanding the Utility of Haptic Feedback in Human Robot Interaction”
The human body is capable of dexterous manipulation in a myriad of environments; however, limitations associated with function, distance, and scale often require the use of telerobots for manipulation in specific environments. Take, for instance, the upper-limb prosthesis, which allows amputees to manipulate the residual limb beyond the point of amputation. Another example is the minimally invasive surgical robot, which allows surgeons to manipulate surgical instruments through incisions smaller than the width of a finger. For both devices, dexterous manipulation is possible only if the interface between body and device can accurately convey the operator’s desired interactions with the environment, and accurately relay any sensory feedback resulting from those interactions. Currently, dexterous manipulation through these devices is limited, in part, because haptic (touch-based) interfaces are still in their infancy in terms of replicating the rich haptic sensations we experience when directly interacting with an environment using our limbs. Therefore, telerobot operation currently relies primarily on visual feedback. This presentation will begin with a discussion of prior work investigating the impact of non-colocating action and reaction in a haptic display and prior work investigating the utility of force-reflection in body-powered prostheses. It will end with a discussion of preliminary work being conducted in the Haptics and Medical Robotics (HAMR) Laboratory here at Hopkins, that builds on these prior findings.