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The EMBS Chapter of the IEEE Ottawa Section was recognized as the Best Ottawa Chapter in 2008, 2010, 2014, 2019, and 2022 and received the Outstanding Chapter Award from IEEE EMBS in 2011!

Human-machine interfaces: what makes them "good" and how can we enable that?

Photo of Dr. Jon Sensinger

Dr. Jon Sensinger

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of New Brunswick

Director, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of New Brunswick

March 1, 2022 11:30 - 12:30

This is an online event. The details on how to join the event will be available once you register.

Register at EventBrite


Human-machine interfaces can include prosthetics, exoskeleton, soft robotics, and many other interactions. Researchers, including ourselves, have studied how to make the mechanisms themselves better for human interaction; how to make control better, and how to make the interaction itself better. But what do we mean by better? In this talk we will survey some of the advances in the field, but we will also highlight common assumptions and pitfalls regarding what engineers assume needs to be optimized, vs. what end-users prefer. We will discuss ways to assess the broader situation, ranging from psychophysics to Bayesian inductive methods to get inside people’s heads. And we will discuss the notion of Pareto fronts and behavioural economics to enable engineers and end-users to happily coexist. Applications will focus primarily on prostheses and exoskeletons, but with relevance for other related fields like eating chocolate, raising kids, and thinking through Covid.


Dr. Jon Sensinger is the director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and a professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick, situated on the unceded and unsurrendered land of the Wolastoqiyik. Trained as a biomedical engineer and as a clinical prosthetist, he has worked in Chicago and Thailand and cofounded Coapt LLC, the first company to successfully market pattern recognition in prostheses. His past research has developed new mechatronic devices including motor designs and cycloid gears, along with complete prosthetic systems. His current research focuses on multi-objective optimization of human-machine interfaces, with particular emphasis on prostheses and exoskeletons, but also with applications to the newly constructed Centre for Adaptive Rehabilitation Engineering, which houses massive infrastructure that can be controlled in real-time to provide immersive virtual reality environments. He leads a team of faculty, scientist, engineers, clinicians, and students who all share a common goal of making an impact in the lives of others that extends from our neighborhoods to the international community. Dr. Sensinger is generally curious person who values integrity, wonder, and future generations, and his personal interests include learning more about the indigenous cultures of Turtle Island, woodworking, sailing, instrument-making and playing, Ultimate Frisbee, cycling on a Fixie, and reading/recommending books.

Last updated March 01, 2022

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