Matteo Bianchi

Dr. Matteo Bianchi

Modeling hand kinematics and the sense of touch for grasping and environmental constraints exploitation: from humans to robots and back again

Human hand is endowed with joints, ligaments, muscles resulting in an extraordinary kinematic behavior. This lecture introduces mathematical tools to describe human hand kinematics in experiments with motion capture systems. Statistical tools to achieve a simplified description of hand kinematic characteristics in grasping and ECE are also discussed along with indications on how to translate these observations for the design of robotic systems. Attention will be finally paid on investigating the role of the sense of touch in human manipulation and how it is possible to use these findings to inform the design of sensing apparatus for soft robotic hands.

Short CV:

Matteo Bianchi received the B.S degree and the M.S cum laude in Biomedical Engineering from University of Pisa, Italy, in 2004 and 2007, respectively and the PhD in Automatics, Robotics and Bioengineering from University of Pisa in 2012. Currently, he is working as Assistant Professor of the University of Pisa – Department of Information Engineering – Centro di Ricerca “E. Piaggio”, and Clinic Research Affiliate at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN – US). From January to June 2011, he worked as visiting student at the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD – US). His research interests include haptic interface design, with applications in medical robotics and assistive/affective human-robot interaction; human and robotic hands: optimal sensing and control; human-inspired control for soft robots; psychophysics and mathematical modelling of the sense of touch and human manipulation. He is an author of contributions to international conferences and journals. He serves as reviewer and member of the editorial board and organizing committee of international journals and conferences. He is editor of the book  “Human and Robot Hands”, Springer International Publishing. In 2010 he was finalist for the Best Student Paper and Best Paper Award at the IEEE Haptics Symposium; in 2012 he was awarded with the JCTF novel technology paper award at the IEEE/RSJ IROS Conference and in 2014 with the best paper award (poster category) at the Eurohaptics Conference. In 2015 he was awarded with the Best Oral presentation award at 2015 Conference organized by the Italian Society of Researchers in Automation and with the Meritorious Service Award for the work as a Reviewer for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. In 2016 he was awarded with the Best Paper Award at the IEEE Haptics Sympoisum

His interest in soft manipulation focuses on the investigation of the control strategies human hands use to exploit environmental constraints and on the methods to translate these observations for the design, sensing and control of soft robotic hands. An interesting aspect is the role of haptic feedback and sensing for task accomplishment and environmental constraint exploitation, and which are the best strategies to render/implement it in an artificial way.