Tuesday, October 30, 2007: 7:00 p.m.
Paul G. Allen Center, Microsoft Atrium

Yoky Matsuoka, Associate Professor, UW Computer Science & Engineering

Can We Use Chopsticks with a Brain-Computer Interface?

A brain-computer interface is a direct communication pathway between the human nervous system and an external device. One example is an amputee controlling a prosthetic hand using the neural signals which mapped to their original hand. Can such brain-computer interfaces be built to grab a piece of slippery sashimi with chopsticks? The Neurobotics Laboratory at the University of Washington is working toward building a system with this level of dexterity. In particular, this talk describes the construction of a prototype seamlessly-integrated prosthetic hand and its use to understand the neural control strategy of the human hand, a highly flexible and redundant system.

Speaker Bio:
Yoky Matsuoka is an Associate Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. She directs the Neurobotics Laboratory where robotic models and environments are used to understand the biomechanics and neuromuscular control of human limbs. In parallel, robotic systems are developed to augment, replace and rehabilitate damaged sensorimotor functions. Prior to joining the University of Washington she was an Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her Ph.D. at MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Computational Neuroscience in 1998. She received an M.S. from MIT in 1995 and a B.S. from UC Berkeley in 1993, both in EECS. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department at MIT and in Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University. Her work has been recognized with a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in September 2007 and been acclaimed as one of “The Brilliant Ten” in Popular Science Magazine in October 2007. In addition, she was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004, an Anna Loomis McCandless Chair at CMU in 2004, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Academic Career Award in 2005.