Distinguished Lecturers

To request a Distinguished Lecturer (DL) for your next event, complete the DL Application Form. For more information or to see the full list, go to the Distinguished Lecturers page.

Karon MacLean portrait
Karon MacLean
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada
RAS Geographic Region 1

Karon MacLean is Professor in Computer Science at UBC, with degrees in Biology and Mechanical Engineering (BSc, Stanford; M.Sc. / Ph.D, MIT) and and time spent as a professional robotics engineer (Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah) and haptics / interaction researcher (Interval Research, Palo Alto). At UBC since 2000, MacLean's research specializes in haptic (touch) interaction: cognitive, sensory and affective design for people interacting with the computation we touch, emote and move with and learn from, from robots to touchscreens and the situated environment. MacLean leads UBC’s Designing for People interdisciplinary research cluster and CREATE graduate training program (20 researchers spanning 8 departments and 4 faculties ­ dfp.ubc.ca), and is Special Advisor, Innovation and Knowledge Mobilization to UBC’s Faculty of Science.

Talk # 1

Making Haptics and its Design Accessible

Today’s advances in tactile sensing and wearable, Internet-of-things and context-aware computing are spurring new ideas about how to configure touch-centered interactions in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions. But while haptic actuation, sensing and control are improving, incorporating them into a real-world design process is challenging and poses a major obstacle to adoption into everyday technology. Some classes of haptic devices, e.g., grounded force feedback, remain expensive and limited in range. I’ll describe some recent highlights of an ongoing effort to understand how to support haptic designers and end-users. These include a wealth of online experimental design tools, and do-it-yourself open sourced hardware and accessible means of creating, for example, expressive physical robot motions and evolve physically sensed expressive tactile languages. Elsewhere, we are establishing the value of haptic force feedback in embodied learning environments, to help kids understand physics and math concepts. This has inspired the invention of a low- cost, handheld and large motion force feedback device that can be used in online environments or collaborative scenarios, and could be suitable for K-12 school contexts; this is ongoing research with innovative education and technological elements. All our work is available online, where possible as web tools, and we plan to push our research into a broader open haptics effort.

Talk # 2

Making and Experimenting with Furry Robots with Feelings

Touch has a major role to play in human-robot interaction. Here, advances in tactile sensing, wearable and context-aware computing as well as robotics more broadly are spurring new ideas about how to configure the human-robot relationship in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions. This talk will focus on my group’s recent work on haptic or physical human-robot interaction, where we aim to bring effective haptic interaction into people's lives by examining how touch (in either direction) can help address human needs with the benefit of both low-and high-tech innovation. I will give a sense of these efforts from three perspectives, each involving significant technical and evaluative design challenges: sensing emotive touch, designing expressive robot bodies and behaviours, and creating evaluative scenarios where participants experience genuine - and changing -emotions as they interact with our robots.

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Angelika Peer portrait
Angelika Peer
Free University of Bolzano
Bolzano, Italy
RAS Geographic Region 2

Angelika Peer is currently Full Professor at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. From 2014 to 2017 she was Full Professor at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Before she was senior researcher and lecturer at the Institute of Automatic Control Engineering and TUM-IAS Junior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She received the Diploma Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology in 2004 and the Doctor of Engineering degree in 2008 from the same university. Her research interests include robotics, haptics, teleoperation, human–human and human–robot interaction as well as human motor control.

Talk # 1

Humans in the Loop: From bilateral to autonomous control

In the past, working spaces of humans and robots were strictly separated, but recent developments have sought to bring them into close interaction. Starting from bilateral teleoperation, one of the earliest examples of human-in-the-loop systems, moving on to shared and supervisory control schemes and ending with examples of autonomous robots interacting and collaborating with humans, the talk will emphasize typical challenges faced in modelling and controlling systems that stay in close interaction with humans. Research questions like robust stability despite of human uncertain behaviour, recognition of human intention, plan and action from multimodal signals, design of shared control policies and adaptation schemes as well as challenges in evaluating performance of human-in-the-loop systems will be discussed.

Talk # 2

Introduction to Haptics, the Sense of Touch

The sense of touch is next to taste, sight, smell, and hearing one of our 5 human senses. Starting from a brief introduction to the physiology of touch, the talk will highlight a series of technological applications that benefit from the introduction of haptics. The current state of the art in the field will be discussed along with recent findings and developments allowing a listener to obtain a broad overview of the field of haptics.

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Jee-Hwan Ryu portrait
Jee-Hwan Ryu
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Daejeon, South Korea
RAS Geographic Region 3

Dr. Jee-Hwan Ryu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Inha University, South Korea, in 1995, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from KAIST, South Korea, in 1997 and 2002, respectively. From 2002 to 2003, he worked as a post-doc researcher in the department of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, and at the similar time, he was also affiliated with the institute of robotics and mechatronics in DLR as a visiting scientist. He joined KAIST in 2019 as an associate professor. Prior to that, he was a professor in the department of mechanical engineering at KOREATECH (2005-2019), and a research professor in the department of electrical engineering at KAIST (2003-2005). His research interests include haptics, telerobotics, exoskeletons, and autonomous vehicles. He has received several awards including IEEE Most Active Technical Committee Award as a Co-chair of TC Haptics in 2015, Best poster award in 2010 IEEE Haptic Symposium. He has been served as an Associate Editor in IEEE Transactions on Haptics, and since 2017, he has been serving as an Associate Editor-in-chief in World Haptics Conference. He was involved in many international conference organizations, and especially, he has been served as a general chair of AsiaHaptics2018.

Talk # 1

Twisted String Actuator and its Application to Wearable Soft Exosuit 

Even with the recent enormous advancement of software and hardware technology in robotics, it is quite frustrating that most of the exoskeletons are still quite heavy and too rigid to be wearable. One of the major bottleneck is the limited power-to- weight ratio and the rack of softness of actuators. In particular, rigid and heavy mechanical transmission system has been dragging down the advancement of the wearable exoskeleton technology. In this presentation, I’m going to introduce some of the recent development of Twisted String Actuator (TSA) as an effort to increase the power-to-weight ratio and softness of the actuator. Typically, I want to focus on basic mathematical model, several extended modules and implementations of this. I will also touch several mechanisms to overcome the limitation of the TSA such as nonlinearity and low contraction speed. In additional to the basics of TSA, as an example of the implementation, I will be showing a soft upper limb exosuit together with several different version of soft hand exoskeleton systems.

Talk # 2

How Stiff or Light we can Reach: Time-domain Passivity Approach for Stable and Transparent Haptic Interaction

The addition of haptic capability dramatically increases the immersiveness of human- robot interaction in AR/VR or teleoperation. That is because the sense of touch conveys rich and detailed information about virtual or remote environments. However, it has been challenging to provide immersive feelings of touch due to the limited range of impedance that a haptic device can display without any stability issue. In this presentation, we will be discussing how to realize stable and immersive human-robot haptic interaction, in particular from the aspect of tight haptic coupling between human and virtual/remote environment. Several state-of-the-art control methods, such as Time Domain Passivity Approach, Successive Stiffness Increment, Successive Force Augmentation method will be introduced, which have been developed for increasing the impedance range of both impedance type and admittance type haptic interfaces for the interaction with virtual objects and remote environments. A stable bilateral teleoperation method to overcome time varying communication delay will be introduced as well with several implementation examples with DLR space telerobotic systems.

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