TOCS Event-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

TOCS Event


Ken Salisbury

Ken Salisbury
Professor of Computer Science and of Surgery and Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University


January 24, 1:30 pm



CMUSV, Rm 118 [directions]

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Haptic Interfaces – Fidelity and Complexity


Inspired by human physiology, variable impedance actuation has been shown to benefit safety with its ability to modulate impact forces. But humans also continually adjust impedance during contact and throughout manipulation tasks. We examine the value and effect of continual impedance variation on quasi-static manipulation. We approach this challenge from the perspective of telerobotics where the operator can explicitly modulate the robotic impedance. Using a three degree of freedom planar teleoperation system we explore two quasi-static tasks: inserting a rigid peg into a tight hole and throwing a switch without overshoot. The work finds that no single impedance can optimally accomplish both tasks. Instead user-controlled impedance variations achieve the desired results, demonstrating the benefits of variable impedance to quasi-static applications in telerobotics.

Speaker Bio:

Professor Salisbury received his PhD from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. At MIT from 1982-1999, he served as Principal Research Scientist in Mechanical Engineering and as a member of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Some of the projects with which he has been associated include the Salisbury (Stanford-JPL) Robot Hand, the JPL Force Reflecting Hand Controller, the MIT-WAM arm, and the Black Falcon Surgical Robot. His work with haptic interface technology led to the founding of SensAble Technologies Inc., producers of the PHANTOM haptic interface and 3D FreeForm software. In 1997 he joined the staff of Intuitive Surgical, in Mountain View CA, whereas Fellow and Scientific Advisor his efforts focused on the development of telerobotic systems for the operating room. In the fall of 1999 he joined the faculty at Stanford in the Departments of Computer Science and Surgery where his research focuses on medical robotics and surgical simulation, and the design for robots for interaction with and near humans. The most recent spinout from his lab resulted in the founding of the personal robotics program at He has served on the National Science Foundation's Advisory Council for Robotics and Human Augmentation, as Scientific Advisor to Intuitive Surgical, Inc., as Technical Advisor to Robotic Ventures, Inc., as an expert witness in litigation in the fields of haptics and robotics, and as a member of the Board of Directors of AREON Flutes.