The BioRobotics Laboratory is part of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah. BioInstrumentation, BioManipulation, and BioInspiration are the core focus areas of our research. These three focus areas are consistent with theme of the new IGERT program on Biocentric Robotics, which complements the Robotics Track here at University of Utah.
BioInstrumentation is used to monitor biological systems and how they interact with their environment. Our research involves imaging the human finger nail, and using the blood flow under the fingernail as a measure of the force applied to the fingertip.
BioInspiration uses biological inspiration for robotic applications. Our current research includes modeling the human hand tendons and creating an anatomically correct robotic hand for validation. We are also looking at controlling arrays of artificial muscles to create light weight and low profile actuators for use in robotics applications.
BioManipulation involves the use of robot manipulators to introduce external forces and displacements on the human body and works in conjunction with BioInstrumentation and BioInspiration. Our current research is on the use of force feedback control for 3 DOF omnidirectional vehicles like wheelchairs or mobile robots. In conjunction with the anatomically correct hand model, we are researching anatomically inspired hand exo-tendon devices.