The goal of our research is to develop methods to capture, quantify and characterize human manipulatory skill (and its acquisition). Such an understanding is critical in the context of skill-training for human performance of manipulation tasks for diverse audiences (ranging from astronauts to assembly line operators, pilots to surgeons, musicians to handicraft makers). However, in lieu of an abstract treatment, we concretize our efforts in the context of surgical procedural assessment/training.
Surgical procedural performance involves interplay of a highly dynamic system of inter-coupled perceptual, sensory, and cognitive components – however, at the current stage our emphasis is on the sensorimotor procedural dimension. Our operant hypothesis is that while human manipulation behavior may be based on the dynamic interaction between the neuromuscular-system and its dynamic environment (human-machine interface + task dynamics), it becomes manifest in the ensuing spatiotemporal patterns. Hence, we take a sensing/systems perspective and propose to track, measure and record, under carefully controlled conditions, low-level dynamic behaviors of users (novitiates to experts) as they perform skilled surgical tasks. The fundamental goal is simple: to determine the underlying structure (“skill-level” or “signature”) of a proceduralist, with its clear ramifications to accreditation and certification, despite the significant spatio-temporal variability of populations (human), coupling characteristics (device) and the interactions (environment).
We present early results from our skill-assessment implementation efforts in two contexts: (A) The da Vinci Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery (RMIS) case which involves multi-degree-of-freedom dexterous motion-components, features better instrumentation and sensing, but is currently performed without haptic feedback; and (B) Percutaneous Kidney Biopsy case which initially is more unstructured and open-ended but ultimately has more-constrained (1 DOF) motions, but depends critically on the sense of touch.
Time permitting, I will also provide a brief overview of the many other related research initiatives ranging from: (a) uneven terrain locomotion systems; (b) human-computer interfaces for mediated teleoperation; (c) haptic user-interface design and (d) video-understanding methods for human activity monitoring. See http://cecas.clemson.edu/armlab-cuicar for further details.
Prof. Venkat Krovi is currently the Michelin Endowed Chair of Vehicle Automation at Clemson University and Faculty Scholar in the Clemson School of Health Research. He received his Bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
His research interests are in the lifecycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation and verification) of novel robotic and mechatronic systems, with emphasis on both theoretical formulation and experimental validation. The underlying research theme has been to take advantage of the “power of the many” to unlock new opportunities in various plant-automation, automobile, defense and healthcare/surgical applications. The principal opportunities lie in building upon heterogeneous loosely-interconnected physical- and information-systems and architecting high-confidence and reconfigurable operational capabilities in the presence of uncertainties. His work has been funded by NSF, DARPA, ARO as well as numerous state and industrial grants and has received multiple awards, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, several best poster, conference and journal paper awards. His work has been published in more than 170 journal/conference articles, book chapters and patents.
Within ASME he was past Chair of the Robotics Technical Committee (Dynamic Systems and Control Division) and is Chair-Elect for the Mechanisms and Robotics Technical Committee (Design Engineering Division). He has served as the Conference Chair of the 2010 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference and is slated to serve as General Chair of the 2014 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences. Within IEEE, he has served as Finance Chair for CASE 2010, ICRA 2012, IROS 2014 and is a member of the Conference Activities Board and the Industrial Activities Board of the Robotics and Automation Society. He has previously served as an Associate Editor of ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, IEEE Transaction on Robotics and currently for the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Further details are available from Automation Robotics and Mechatronics (ARM) Lab website http://cecas.clemson.edu/armlab-cuicar