Maria Eugenia Cabrera receives best presentation award at AAAI Conference


Maria Eugenia Cabrera, IE PhD student, has received the best three minute presentation award at the recent AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) Conference.


With the help of Dr. Juan Wachs, Maria is studying the possibility of switching from joystick interfaces to touchless ones to control the robots used in Robotic Assisted Surgery (RAS).  With touchless interfaces, the tasks and movements of the robots can be controlled by free hand gestures. This type of interface is more   natural to the surgeons since they can make movements exactly the same as if they were operating using their bare hands, and the robot can mimic and transform those instructions to actions with precision and efficiency.


The study presented took advantage of different gaming technologies currently in the market which cover both touch-based and touchless interfaces (among which are Kinect, Leap Motion, Hydra Razer, Omega 7 and the traditional keyboard) to compare the performance of users when they were carrying out two different tasks related to surgery. After comparing the results using several metrics, it was seen that touchless interfaces show potential and with further work, they could be incorporated to the medical field.


Cabrera’s paper, “Touchless telerobotic surgery–is it possible at all?” was co-authored by Industrial Engineering PhD student Tian Zhou and Professor Juan Wachs.