LCSR Seminar: Juan Wachs “The Cyber Touch – Empowering Medical Robots Through Gestures”

November 13, 2019 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Hackerman B-17


At the time, the only robots present in the operating room are those that extend surgeons capabilities through tele-operation, such as the da-Vinci robot. Alternatively, a new type of robots is emerging that would understand natural language, and mainly non-verbal language, such as gestures, which is the main form of interaction in the operating room. But it also turns out that medics and first responders also use a combination of communication modalities to collaborate with robots outside the OR, in austere settings such as the battlefield or in rural settings. Endowing robots with the capability of recognizing intention through body language, predicting and informing the surgical team about future surgical tasks is a key challenge in trauma care. In this talk, I will highlight three applications that showcase robots working with doctors in a semi-autonomous manner. Such work has applications to the DoD, and was made possible through collaborations with hospitals: Indiana University of Medicine, the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth at Norfolk, VA and Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Significant breakthroughs in this research led to major publications, such as Annals of Surgery and Surgery. News releases covering this work appear at NPR “Surgical Technology Aims to Mimic ‘Teleporting’”. NPR Inside Indiana Business. Sept. 28, 2015 and more recently featured in the WIRED magazine “How Technology is Helping Surgeons Collaborate from Across the World” (07/2018) and Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick. TV Show. October 4, 2018. The research showcased is supported through the kind generosity of DoD and NSF



Dr. Juan Wachs is the James A. and Sharon M. Tompkins Rising Star Associate Professor in the Industrial Engineering School at Purdue University, Professor of Biomedical Engineering (by courtesy) and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Surgery at IU School of Medicine. He is the director of the Intelligent Systems and Assistive Technologies (ISAT) Lab at Purdue, and he is affiliated with the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. He completed postdoctoral training at the Naval Postgraduate School’s MOVES Institute under a National Research Council Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences. Dr. Wachs received his B.Ed.Tech in Electrical Education in ORT Academic College, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem campus. His M.Sc and Ph.D in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He is the recipient of the 2013 Air Force Young Investigator Award, and the 2015 Helmsley Senior Scientist Fellow, and 2016 Fulbright U.S. Scholar, the James A. and Sharon M. Tompkins Rising Star Associate Professor, 2017, and an ACM Distinguished Speaker 2018. He is also the Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions in Human-Machine Systems, Frontiers in Robotics and AI.



 LCSR Seminar Video Link

Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics