Seminar, September 29, 2006
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments
Is the human hand dexterous because,
or in spite, of its anatomical complexity?
Faculty Candidate Talk
Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm
human hand is a pinnacle of mechanical versatility unequaled by
electromechanical systems. It is clearly a product of brain-body coevolution.
However, its anatomical structure shares numerous features with other species.
In my work, I explore how the human hand meets the necessary and sufficient
mechanical requirement for manipulation. This allows us to begin to distinguish
and contrast the complementary contributions of anatomy and the nervous system
in order to improve hand rehabilitation and suggest avenues to build better
I attended Swarthmore College from 1984-88 where I obtained a BS
degree in Engineering. After spending a year in the Indian subcontinent as a
Thomas J Watson Fellow, I joined Queen's University in Ontario and worked with Dr. Carolyn Small.
The research for my Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Queen's focused
on developing non-invasive methods to estimate the kinematic integrity of the
wrist joint. In 1991 I joined the doctoral program in the Design Division of
the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University.
I worked with Dr. Felix Zajac developing a realistic biomechanical model of the
human digits. This research, done at the Rehabilitation R & D Center in Palo Alto, focused on
predicting optimal coordination patterns of finger musculature during static
force production. After completing my doctoral degree in 1997, I joined the
core faculty of the Biomechanical Engineering Division at Stanford University
as a Research Associate and Lecturer. My research then focused on developing
experimental methods to optimize the surgical restoration of hand function
following spinal cord injury and peripheral nerve injuries. In 1999 I joined
the faculty of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as an
Assistant Professor. I also have close ties with the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
appointments, please contact Jean
Harpley(firstname.lastname@example.org - 8-3802)
Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.