Talk Title: Human-Machine and Human-Human Physical Interaction: How do we collaborate?

Speaker: Dr. Simone Fani

4/9/24 – 2pm in WEB L102

Talk Abstract:                                  
Human-Machine interaction is a broad term that can include multiple types of interactions between humans and machines, usually considering more “intelligent” machines. Machines, in all forms, are increasingly present in our everyday life, from computers, to technologically advanced vehicles. Although human-machine interactions are ubiquitous, commercial applications of human-robot physical interactions (HPI) remain underdeveloped because of safety concerns and the challenges of enabling seamless interactions. These challenges have prevented the development of commercial HPI devices for collaborative, assistive and rehabilitation robotics. Observing how humans collaborate in physical tasks could help us redesign methods and protocols used in human-machine interaction. This is easier in fields where the machine is directly controlled by the human and is used as an interface to interact with the environment and other humans, e.g., prosthetics. In other fields, the human-like collaboration patterns should be coded in the machine control systems and protocols. To achieve this goal, it is critically important to improve our understanding of how humans collaborate and what are the main factors leading to a successful collaboration. In this talk I will discuss how understanding the mechanisms of human-human physical interaction can be leveraged to improve the design and control of assistive and rehabilitation devices and, more broadly, human-machine interaction settings.
Simone Fani received his Bachelor Degree in Computer Engineering, in a curriculum on Robotics and Industrial Automation Systems, at the University of Siena in 2011, his Master Degree in Robotics and Automation Engineering and his Ph.D. in Information Engineering (Robotics and Automation curriculum) from the University of Pisa in 2015 and 2020, respectively. Currently he is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the School of Biological and Health System Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University (AZ – USA), where he started in September 2022. Fani is also an External Collaborator with the Soft Robotics for Human Cooperation and Rehabilitation Lab of the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (Italy) and a member of the Neural Control of Movement Laboratory of the Arizona State University (AZ – USA), working under Professor Marco Santello. He has previously worked from March to September 2015 as a Visiting Student in the same lab where he is currently working at Arizona State University (AZ- USA),  February to July 2019 as a visiting Ph.D. Student at the ReTouch Lab, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara (CA – USA), and from November 2019 to September 2022 as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Research Center ” E. Piaggio” of the University of Pisa. His research interests include design and validation of haptic interfaces, rehabilitation and assistive robotics, prosthetics, medical robotics, human-machine interaction, augmented and virtual reality. Currently his research is focusing mainly on prosthetics and human-machine interaction, with the goal of studying human-human physical interaction to translate its characteristics into human-machine physical interaction.