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Neurobotics Laboratory
This lab is no longer active.
Head: Yoky Matsuoka
Contact: Yoky Matsuoka
Lab Homepage
Overview
The Neurobotics Laboratory is interested in building a robot-human closed loop system to alter the neural control of movement as a way to rehabilitate, assist, and enhance human motor control and learning capabilities. Our primary target population is individuals with strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other injuries that inhibit daily activities. We also target sports medicine, military, and entertainment applications.

The Neurobotics Laboratory takes multidisciplinary approaches. First, we investigate the sensorimotor control mechanisms in the central nervous system. We perform psychophysical experiments on human subjects while recording their muscle activity levels, precise movements, movement perceptions, and adaptation changes. We also construct biomechanically accurate robotic devices as tools to understand and model human systems. We have already made some discoveries in hand biomechanics that would not have been possible without our devices.

Second, using the experimental results, we not only further our understanding in neural control, but we also construct assistive and training robotic devices that intimately interact / interface with the users. These devices include haptic, prosthetic, implantable, and wearable devices.

Finally, we are interested in the neural control alterations due to the robot-human closed loop control. Recent findings suggest that animals are capable of performing tasks that are normally impossible when they are provided with artificial neural feedback. We are interested in extracting neuromuscular parameters of human subjects during training, manipulating the parameters externally, and applying artificial force or electrical feedback. Experiments can then be performed to determine the effect of artificial feedback on human motor control and learning.

The Neurobotics Laboratory is open to students and researchers with a variety of backgrounds. Example backgrounds are: mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering, physics, math, computer science, cognitive science, neuroscience, art, and medicine. We have several MD / Ph.D. students and we welcome more. We also collaborate with a variety of medical institutions including: the UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital, Sports Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, etc. The Neurobotics Laboratory is a perfect place to work on fundamental scientific questions while affecting and changing people in daily tasks. It is a place where multidisciplinary knowledge is encouraged and pursued.

The Neurobotics Laboratory's motto is to work hard and play hard. While we work very hard, it is very important for us to go out and enjoy ourselves.

The Neurobotics Laboratory has many brilliant undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines: Gerry Chu (MechE), Mona Zhe (ECE), Shamhavi Patel (ECE), Richard Juchniewicz (MechE), Sean Kelly (MechE) and Joe Laws (ECE).

Yoky Matsuoka has reinstated the Neurobotics Lab at the University of Washington.