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Research Experience

Experimental Setup

One of my research goals is to improve the quality of life of people with limited or non-existent haptic (perception of touch) sensing capabilities. I have been investigating methods of sensory substitution, where one sensation (e.g. hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting) is mapped to another (e.g. hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting) in order to convey information in a new way. People who can benefit from sensory substitution include: prosthesis users who lack perception of their artificial limbs, elderly people whose sensing capabilities have deteriorated, and individuals with movement disorders caused by inaccurate perceptions. Additionally, surgeons lacking sensory feedback during robotic surgery can also benefit from sensory substitution. Below I summarize my research experience in three categories: Characterization of Human Sensing/Performance using Custom-Made Robotic Systems; Sensory Substitution using Custom-Made Robotic Systems (which has a focus on assisting upper-limb prosthesis users); and Determination of Flow Patterns in Uterine Model (which includes work done during a summer of my Undergraduate years).

Characterization of Human Perception using Custom-Made Robotic Systems

Experimental Setup

I have characterized human sensing capabilities and performance in numerous tasks using admittance-controlled, impedance-controlled, and teleoperated robotic systems, designed, built, and/or controlled by myself. This includes tasks performed by humans such as whole body pivot-turns, knob turning, position targeting, and discrimination of springs. More detailed information about this work can be found here.

Sensory Substitution using Custom-Made Robotic Systems

Sensory Substitution System

I have primarily investigated methods to provide proprioceptive information to upper-limb prosthesis users through Sensory Substitution. I am testing feedback methods including stretching the forearm skin, stimulating the toes, and vibrating numerous elements on the torso. More details about this research can be found here.

Determination of Flow Patterns in Uterine Model

I investigated how fluid flows throughout a uterus, with the overall goal to improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization through a more precise understanding of how embryo transfer (ET) techniques impact ovum capture into the uterine lining. My research project was to set up an experimental apparatus that would videotape a mock ET simulation. More specifically, I videotaped the injection of a dye of a specified viscosity into a 2-D model of a uterine cavity using different speeds, angles, and methods of dye injection at various dye viscosities. I also investigated methods of analyzing the fluid flow to quantify the results. My contribution concluded at the end of the summer, however this project continued until its publication in the journal Human Reproduction (pdf) in which I was referenced in the acknowledgments. [Research performed in the Tel Aviv University Biofluids Lab, May - Aug 2002]


Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

1. N. Gurari and G. Baud-Bovy, "Customization, Control, and Characterization of a Commercial Haptic Device for High-Fidelity Rendering of Weak Forces", Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol 235, pp. 169-180, 2014. PDF
2. N. Gurari, K. J. Kuchenbecker, and A. M. Okamura, "Perception of Springs with Visual and Proprioceptive Motion Cues: Implications for Prosthetics", IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, Vol 43, Issue 1, pp. 102-114, 2013. Supporting Video

Book Chapter

1. N. Gurari and Allison M. Okamura, "Compliance Perception using Natural and Arti cial Motion Cues". In Massimiliano Di Luca, editor, Multisensory Softness: Perceived Compliance from Multiple Sources of Information, chapter 10, pp. 189-217, Springer, July 2014.

Peer-Reviewed Conferences

1. Fabio Tatti, N. Gurari, and G. Baud-Bovy, "Role of the Position on the Static Force-Rendering Performance of two Commercial Haptic Systems". In Haptics: Neuroscience, Devices, Modeling, and Applications, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 342-350, 2014.
2. N. Gurari, J. Wheeler, A. Shelton, and A. M. Okamura, "Discrimination of Springs with Vision, Proprioception, and Artificial Skin Stretch Cues". Proceedings of the Eurohaptics Conference, Vol. 7282, pp 160-172, 2012.
3. A. Cheng, K. Nichols, H. Weeks, N. Gurari, and A. M. Okamura, "Conveying the Con guration of a Virtual Human Hand Using Vibrotactile Feedback". Proceedings of the Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems (Haptics Symposium), pp. 155-162, 2012. PDF
4. N. Gurari, K. Smith, M. Madhav, and A. M. Okamura, "Environment Discrimination with Vibration Feedback to the Foot, Arm, and Fingertip". 11th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), pp. 343-348, 2009. PDF
5. N. Gurari, K. J. Kuchebecker, and A. M. Okamura, "Stiffness Discrimination with Visual and Proprioceptive Cues". Third Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperator Systems (World Haptics), pp. 121-126, 2009. PDF
6. J. Tapson, N. Gurari, J. Diaz, E. Chicca, D. Sander, P. Pouliquen, and R. Etienne-Cummings, "The Feeling of Color: A Haptic Feedback Device for the Visually Disabled". Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference (BiOCAS), pp. 381-384, 2008. PDF | YouTube Video Demonstration
7. K. J. Kuchenbecker, N. Gurari, and A. M. Okamura, "Effects of Visual and Proprioceptive Motion Feedback on Human Control of Targeted Motion". 10th International Conference on Rehabiliation Robotics (ICORR), pp. 513-524, 2007. PDF
8. N. Gurari and A. M. Okamura, "Human Performance in a Knob-Turning Task". Second Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperator Systems (World Haptics), pp. 96-101, 2007. PDF
9. K. J. Kuchenbecker, N. Gurari, and A. M. Okamura, "Quantifying the Value of Visual and Haptic Position Feedback During Force-Based Motion Control". Second Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environments and Teleoperator Systems (World Haptics), pp. 561-562, 2007. PDF

Peer-Reviewed Extended Abstracts

1. G. Baud-Bovy and N. Gurari, A Joystick to Study how Children Control the Interaction Force during the Manipulation of Kinematically Constrained Objects. 9th FENS Forum of Neuroscience, 2014.
2. N. Gurari and G. Baud-Bovy, "Development of a Passive Force Feedback Joystick for Usage with Children". Proceedings of the IEEE Haptics Symposium, pp. 103-105, 2014. PDF


1. N. Gurari, "Characterization of Human Perception Using Haptic Systems and Implications for Upper-Limb Prosthetics". Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2010. PDF
2. N. Gurari, "Locomotion and Vestibular Ocular Motor Control". Bachelor of Science in Engineering Thesis, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, December 2003. PDF


Hackerman Hall Dedication Video, September 2010.