Spring 2014 GRASP Seminar: Aaron Dollar, Yale University, "Reengineering The Hand: "Mechanical Intelligence" In Robotic Manipulation"

Presenter: Aaron Dollar (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Friday February 7, 2014 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Despite decades of research, current robotic systems are unable to reliably grasp and manipulate a wide range of unstructured objects in human environments. The somewhat traditional approach of attempting to copy the immense mechanical complexity of the human hand in a stiff "robotic" mechanism, and the subsequently required levels of sensing and control, has not yet been successful. Alternatively, with careful attention to the design of the mechanics of hands, including adaptive underacted transmissions and carefully tuned compliance, we have been able to achieve a level of dexterity and reliability as yet unseen in the robotics community. I will describe ongoing efforts to further develop grasping and dexterous manipulation capabilities in engineered systems as well as our work in studying human hand function to guide some of the efforts.

Presenter's Biography:

Aaron Dollar is the John J. Lee Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale University. He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Science at Harvard University, and was a postdoctoral associate at MIT in Health Sciences and Technology and the Media Lab. He directs the Yale GRAB Lab, which conducts research into robotic hands and dexterous manipulation, prosthetics, and assistive and rehabilitation devices. Prof. Dollar is co-founder and editor of, an open repository for robotics pedagogical materials, and is the recipient of a number of awards, including young investigator awards from DARPA, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Science Foundation.