Congratulations BRL Graduates!

The BioRobotics lab is pleased to announce the graduation of four of our student researchers this spring! Three PhD students and one Bachelor’s degree were awarded to BRL students. Congratulations are in order for Dr. Tamara Bonaci, Dr. Levi Cheng, Dr. Iris Jiang, and Sharon Newman! For a brief description of each of the graduate’s work and future plans, please read on


TamaraGradTamara Bonaci, PhD in Electrical Engineering

Tamara has spent her time at UW EE researching security and privacy issues of cyberphysical systems. Specifically, her dissertation focused on the security and privacy problems posed by brain computer interfaces and teleoperated robotic systems. During her time at UW she was advised by Howard Chizeck, and she will be staying with the BioRobotics lab for the summer while she finalizes her theoretical work with these two cyberphysical systems. Congratulations Tamara!


Levi Cheng, PhD in Mechanical Engineering

Levi was advised by Blake Hannaford while he researched methods for identifying and preventing tissue damage from robotic surgery devices. His work included simulation of different mechanical grippers as well as analysis of tissue necrosis due to gripping force. Congratulations Levi!


Iris Jiang, PhD in Bioengineering

Iris, who was also advised by Blake Hannaford, researched how healthy subjects responded to various feedback methods in order to design higher-performance state feedback for lower-limb prosthetic users. The project was aimed at reducing falls in lower-limb amputees by warning a user of a trip or unstable surface in a short enough time such that the patient could react to correct before falling. Iris was interested in extending this work to patients who had undergone Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) surgery. Congratulations Iris!


Sharon Newman, B.S. in Bioengineering

Sharon worked with Iris to tackle the difficult and time-consuming problem of mapping sensations after a TMR surgery. She and Iris developed an approach to automating the mapping procedure using the Raven Surgical Robot, a Kinect depth-sensor, and a computer application for mapping patient responses. For one year starting in September 2015, Sharon will be funded by Fulbright and Whitaker fellowships to conduct research and attend classes in the BrainLinks-BrainTools department at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Congratulations Sharon!Iris_Sharon_Graduation

BRL Researchers Demonstrate Cyber Security Risks Against Teleoperated Robots

Picture credit: Matt Hagen

A team of BRL researchers recently demonstrated that next generation teleoperated surgical robots are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Their research, described in a recently published ArXiv paper, comes at a time when medical robot sales are increasing by 20% per year, and it underscores the need to consider cyber security risks and defenses not just for laptops, desktops, and web servers, but for any form of computing technology, including cyber-physical systems like robots.

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