GRASP Special Seminar: Adam Spiers, Yale University, "Haptics Research In Art And Medicine"

Presenter: Adam Spiers (Homepage)

Event Dates:
  Monday August 11, 2014 from 1:30pm to 2:30pm

* Alternate Location: Levine 307*

In this talk I will cover two quite different areas of research that are linked by the common theme of haptics.

First, I will describe some medical haptics research I recently completed at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (UK). Here we investigated various haptic concepts in relation to manual and tele-operated (robotic) minimally invasive surgery, leading to several observations and technical developments. Some highlights include the development of a dexterous gripper for palpation, a deformable fingertip sensor and multi-modal haptic feedback systems featuring fingertip deformation and skin stretch.

The second part of the talk relates to the development of haptic navigation devices for use in cultural spaces. An ongoing collaboration with a London based visually impaired theatre group and the Open University, the first iteration of this work led to the ‘Haptic Lotus’ device in 2010. This handheld device expanded as blind and sighted audience members approached specific areas in an immersive art installation. In this talk I will explain the motivation behind our work and the developments we hope to achieve with our most recent set of funding for a new project, ‘Flatland’.

Presenter's Biography:

Ad Spiers is a postdoctoral researcher in Yale University’s Grab lab. He is currently developing haptic navigation devices and investigating how upper limb amputees use their prosthetics in daily life. In his previous role (Bristol robotics laboratory, UK) Ad worked with NHS (National Health Service) surgeons to investigate benefits and methods of enabling haptic feedback in tele-operated surgery and training simulators. His PhD, obtained from Bristol University, was in the real-time synthesis of human-like reaching movements for robot manipulators.

In addition to academic research, Ad has been involved in various creative technology projects featuring robotics and haptics. This led to a (now long distance) invited residence at the Pervasive Media Studio creative technology hub in the UK. Previous work has included groups of animatronic origami creatures and a mind controlled beer pouring robot. His work has been exhibited in galleries and music festivals, reaching a wide and varied audience. His current haptics work continues his ongoing collaboration with visually impaired artists looking to create new and accessible forms of cultural experience.