University of Waterloo

Student seminars

April 5 2023, 11:30 am, EC4-2101A

*** 11:30am Presenter:  Peter Lee ***

Title: Automated System for a Collaborative Robot Arm to Collect Nasopharyngeal Swab Samples

In the face of aging demographics and airborne spread illnesses, the development of robotics for close-contact healthcare tasks is of paramount important looking towards the future. In this talk, I will discuss my research towards using a standard collaborative robot arm to safely execute the nasopharyngeal swab test, a common diagnostic for detecting various types of respiratory illnesses. There are three major components to this research. The first involves the derivation of an optimization problem to find the best path to insert the swab along through the nasal cavity. Second, a visual servo system is designed that actuates a robotic arm to place the swab next to the nostril with the correct position and orientation. Third a compliant control system is formulated and implemented to insert the swab and collect samples from the nasopharynx, while regulating measured forces applied to the swab to ensure the robot is stable and responsive.  I will also discuss experiments featuring both human trials and trials with a realistic nasal cavity phantom that validate the proposed methods.

*** 12:00pm Presenter:  Neil Brubacher ***

This past Monday marked the 25th anniversary of Nunavut, Canada’s youngest territory. While Nunavut’s legal boundaries are relatively young, Inuit – peoples Indigenous to northern Canada – have lived in this challenging Arctic landscape for thousands of years. Today, Inuit are continuing to adapt to significant cultural and environmental changes. In January, I got a chance to visit Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, a small community in Hudson Bay with a predominantly Inuit population of about 900. In this “show and tell” I’ll share some of my experiences and the surrounding context from this trip, the people, the landscape, and a glimpse of how digital technology is being used to complement long-established ways of going about things. Bundle up!