Allison Okamura

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview, Allison Okamura discusses her work in robotics, focusing on manipulation, planning, and sensory feedback and haptics. Describing her time with Immersion and at Johns Hopkins and Stanford, she outlines her involvement with robotics projects, such as Da Vinci Surgical System and the snake robot, and the innovations and successes of her work. Additionally, she describes her involvement in the robotics community, the role of women in robotics, and the challenges and potential of the field.  


Allison Okamura was born in Fontana, California. She received a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California in 1994, and her master's and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. Currently she is a Professor of the Mechanical Engineering department at Stanford University. Prior to this, she served as a Professor and Vice Chair of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Other involvement in professional organizations includes being associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics, editor of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation Conference Editorial Board, and co-chair of the IEEE Haptics Symposium.   Okamura's research interests include haptics, teleoperation, virtual environments and simulations, medical robotics, neuromechanics and rehabilitation, prosthetics, and engineering education. For her work she received several awards and honors, including the 2009 IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics Early Career Award, the 2005 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award, and the 2004 NSF CAREER Award.