Collaborative Haptics, Robotics, and Mechatronics

-Engineering for the benefit of society-

The CHROME Lab is a place where engineers work collaboratively with professionals to create new technologies that make the world a better place. In the CHROME Lab, our research is centered on how we can promote effective human-machine interaction in numerous applications including education, medicine, and consumer technologies. We are particularly interested in the role of haptics (touch) in enhancing existing interaction capabilities and promoting entirely new levels that currently are not possible.

In medicine, we are working with neurosurgeons to design steerable devices that can ablate tumors in the brain through a single, small hole in the skull. With SLU and Wash U medical schools right next to the main campus, we can frequently meet with surgeons to brainstorm new ideas and progress on current ones, and we often get to observe the surgeries that we are working to improve. The CHROME Lab has recently joined forces with Wash U neurosurgeon, Dr. Eric Leuthardt and his talented team to develop a new flexible guide that makes surgical tools that aren't inherently steerable, able to be steered.

In consumer technologies, we are building the next generation of touchscreens that will enable individuals to physically “feel” objects being displayed on screen. Imagine a touchscreen experience where you no longer feel the glass surface, but instead, you can feel textures such as slippery, sticky, bumpy, or smooth. Imagine having to no longer constantly look at the screen in order to navigate on it, but instead, being able to feel your way around the screen. This is the experience the CHROME Lab is working to create.

In education, we are exploring how we can use vibrations and sounds on touchscreens to enhance the accessibility of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Because much of the content in STEM disciplines is visual, it’s challenging for nonvisual learners, particularly those that are blind or visually impaired, to have equal opportunities in these disciplines. In this project, we work to promote a more inclusive, universal experience for students of all learning styles and are interested in understanding how we can leverage new touch capabilities to do this.

In the CHROME Lab, we make fundamental advancements in the areas of haptics and human-machine interfaces, but also translate our work out of our lab, such that it can make a difference beyond our walls. Graduate and undergraduate students work side by side with medical professionals, experts in education, start-ups, and industry partners to bring about a better tomorrow.

The CHROME Lab is a laboratory in Mechanical Engineering at Saint Louis University.