In order to realize safe, effective and human-like physical interaction between a robot and a human, it is crucial to first understand how humans interact with each other. Pioneering work in physical human-human interaction (pHHI) report small interaction forces below 20 N, and sometimes even below 1 N. This is too small to provide any mechanical support or substantial power transfer. Instead, it is speculated that the role of small interaction forces is the information transfer about ongoing interaction. It can be very effective to a point where even neurologically impaired patients could improve their motor performance through small forces. What, then, is encoded in interaction forces specifically? In this talk, I will present two case studies of physical human-robot interaction (pHRI), where the force exchange was shown to be related to both subjective and objective measures of the quality of the interaction. In particular, I will show that the interaction force that encodes human movement kinematics was successful in improving human balance. These findings provide rich implications on the design of robots and wearable devices for assisting human movement through physical contact.
Dr. Yun Seong Song is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri Rolla). He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and B.S.E. in Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University in 2004, his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2006, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012. He was a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in 2012-13 and a postdoc and lecturer at Georgia Tech Biomedical Engineering in 2014-16. He was a two-time recipient of the Samsung Scholarship and the recipient of the Bennett Award from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Song’s work and interest include physical human-robot interaction and rehabilitation robotics, and their applications in understanding the human biomechanics.