Greg Hager: From Mimicry to Mastery: Creating Machines that Augment Human Skill


We are entering an era where people will interact with smart machines to enhance the physical aspects of their lives, just as smart mobile devices have revolutionized how we access and use information. Robots already provide surgeons with physical enhancements that improve their ability to cure disease, we are seeing the first generation of robots that collaborate with humans to enhance productivity in manufacturing, and a new generation of startups are looking at ways to enhance our day to day existence through automated driving and delivery.


In this talk, I will use examples from surgery and manufacturing to frame some of the broad science, technology, and commercial trends that are converging to fuel progress on human-machine collaborative systems. I will describe how surgical robots can be used to observe surgeons “at work” and to define a “language of manipulation” from data, mirroring the statistical revolution in speech processing. With these models, it is possible to recognize, assess, and intelligently augment surgeons’ capabilities. Beyond surgery, new advances in perception, coupled with steadily declining costs and increasing capabilities of manipulation systems, have opened up new science and commercialization opportunities around manufacturing assistants that can be instructed “in-situ.” Finally, I will close with some thoughts on the broader challenges still be to surmounted before we are able to create true collaborative partners.


Speaker Bio

Gregory D. Hager is the Mandell Bellmore Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests include collaborative and vision-based robotics, time-series analysis of image data, and medical applications of image analysis and robotics. He has published over 300 articles and books in these areas. Professor Hager is also Chair of the Computing Community Consortium, a board member of the Computing Research Association, and is currently a member of the governing board of the International Federation of Robotics Research. In 2014, he was awarded a Hans Fischer Fellowship in the Institute of Advanced Study of the Technical University of Munich where he also holds an appointment in Computer Science. He is a fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to Vision-Based Robotics, and has served on the editorial boards of IEEE TRO, IEEE PAMI, and IJCV. Professor Hager received his BA in Mathematics and Computer Science Summa Cum Laude at Luther College (1983), and his MS (1986) and PhD (1988) from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Karlsruhe, and was on the faculty of Yale University prior to joining Johns Hopkins. He is founding CEO of Clear Guide Medical.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering

3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-2608

Laboratory for Computational Sensing + Robotics