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Soft Robotics for Prosthetic Devices; are we getting one-step closer to their natural counterparts?

June 9 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm AEST

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By Professor Gursel ALICI, University of Wollongong

School of Mechanical, Materials, Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering
Applied Mechatronics and Biomedical Engineering Research (AMBER) Group
ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES)

Chair – IEEE SMC Victorian Chapter: Professor Saeid Nahavandi, FIEEE, FATSE

Abstract: Soft robotics offers unprecedented solutions for applications involving safe interaction with humans and objects, and manipulating and grasping fragile objects, crops and similar agricultural products. Progress in soft robotics will have a significant impact especially on medical applications such as wearable robots, prosthetic devices, assistive devices, and rehabilitation devices.

In this talk, we aim to update on where we are in soft robotics to build prosthetic hands with features that will bring them one-step closer to their natural counterparts. The history of prosthetic hands dates back to 202 BC. Since then, significant efforts have been dedicated to the development of prosthetic hands. The primary features of a prosthetic hand should be to receive and identify its user’s intention noninvasively, and equally importantly send sensory feedback about its “state” to its user noninvasively in order to help “restore normality” for its use—bilateral control. The communication between a prosthetic device and its user (i.e., human-machine interface) has been a challenging research problem. We will also present the progress we have made in the research theme of soft robotics for prosthetic devices and the establishment of a fully 3D printed transradial prosthetic hand at our research center, ACES, at University of Wollongong. 

Biography: Gursel Alici received his Ph.D. degree in Robotics from the Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University, Oxford, U.K., in 1994. He is currently a Senior Professor at the University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, where he is the Head of the School of Mechanical, Materials. Mechatronic and Biomedical Engineering since 2011. His research interests are soft robotics, system dynamics and control, robotic drug delivery systems, novel actuation concepts for biomechatronic applications, robotic mechanisms and manipulation systems, soft and smart actuators and sensors, prosthetic devices, and medical robotics. He has generated more than 350-refereed publications and delivered numerous invited seminars and keynote talks on his areas of research.

Dr. Alici was a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics during 2008–2012. He was a Technical Editor of the IEEE Access, during 2013-2020. He is currently Senior Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, as of January 1, 2020. He has served on the international program committees of numerous IEEE/ASME International Conferences on Robotics and Mechatronics. He was the General Chair of the 2013 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics held in Wollongong, Australia. He is the leader of Soft Robotics for Prosthetic Devices theme of the ARC Center of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. He received the Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning Award in 2010, the Vice-Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Research Excellence Award in 2013, and Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Supervision in 2018 from the University of Wollongong. He has held a visiting professorship position at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL) (2007, 2010), City University of Hong Kong (2014), University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) (2015), and University of British Columbia, Canada (2019).