Ken Salisbury

Interview Location: United States

Interview Synopsis

In this interview Ken Salisbury discusses his career and work in robotics. Outlining his movement from academia to industry and back to academia, he describes his involvement in robotics projects, such as the Stanford (Salisbury) Hand and Barrett arm, and various collaborations with other roboticists. He comments on the evolution of robotics, and its challenges and potential applications. Additionally he reflects on his career and his many contribution to robotics.  


Ken Salisbury was born in Schenectady, New York. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1975, 1977, and 1982, respectively. From 1982-1999, he served as Principal Research Scientist in Mechanical Engineering and as a member of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. His work in haptic interface technology later led him to found SensAble Technologies, Inc. In 1997, he joined Intuitive Surgical as Fellow and Scientific Advisor, focusing on medical telerobotics systems. In the Fall of 1999, he returned to Stanford, where he currently serves as Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Surgery, and (by courtesy) in Mechanical Engineering. Salisbury's research interests include robotics and haptic interface technology, and currently, focuses on medical robotics and surgical simulation, and the robot-human interaction. Some of his contributions to robotics include the Stanford-JPL Robot Hand, the JPL Force Reflecting Hand Controller, the MIT-WAM arm, and the Black Falcon Surgical Robot.