IRIM Robotics Seminar–Venkat N. Krovi

SUNY at Buffalo’s Venkat N. Krovi presents “Quantitative System for Technical Assessment and Training of Skills (STATS) for Surgical Performance” as part of the IRIM Robotics Seminar Series. The event will be held in the Marcus Nanotechnology Building from 12-1 p.m. and is open to the public.    


We seek to develop methods to capture, quantify, and characterize human manipulatory skill (and its acquisition). Such an understanding is critical in the context of skill training for human performance of manipulation tasks for diverse audiences (ranging from astronauts to assembly line operators, pilots to surgeons, musicians to handicraft makers). However, in lieu of an abstract treatment, we concretize our efforts in the context of surgical procedural assessment/training.

Surgical procedural performance involves interplay of a highly dynamic system of intercoupled perceptual, sensory, and cognitive components—at the current stage, however, our focus is on sensorimotor procedural performance. Our operant hypothesis is that while human manipulation behavior may be based on the dynamic interaction between the neuromuscular system and its dynamic environment (human-machine interface + task dynamics), it becomes manifest in the ensuing spatiotemporal patterns. Hence, we take a sensing/systems perspective and propose to track, measure and record, under carefully controlled conditions, low-level dynamic behaviors of users (novitiates to experts) as they perform skilled surgical tasks. Our immediate goal is to then determine the underlying structure (“skill-level” or “signature”) of a proceduralist, with its clear ramifications to accreditation and certification, despite the significant spatiotemporal variability of populations (human), coupling characteristics (device), and the interactions (environment).

We will present early results from our skill assessment implementation efforts in two contexts: (A) The da Vinci Robotic Minimally Invasive Surgery (RMIS) case that involves multi-degree-of-freedom dexterous motion components, features better instrumentation and sensing, but is currently performed without haptic feedback; and (B) Percutaneous Kidney Biopsy case that initially is more unstructured and open-ended but ultimately has more-constrained (1 DOF) motions, yet depends critically on the sense of touch.

Time permitting, we will also provide a brief overview of the many other related research initiatives, including uneven terrain locomotion systems; human-computer interfaces for mediated teleoperation; haptic user-interface design; and video-understanding methods for human activity monitoring. 


Venkat N. Krovi is an associate professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, with adjunct appointments in Electrical Engineering, Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, and Gynecology-Obstetrics.

Krovi obtained his Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania in December 1998 under the supervision of Prof. Vijay Kumar and Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh. From January 1999 to September 2001, he was a tenure-track assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at McGill University in Montreal.

In September 2001, Krovi joined the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo as a tenure-track assistant professor and received tenure in June 2007. At Buffalo, Krovi directs the Automation, Robotics and Mechatronics (ARM) Lab and the Computer Integrated Surgery (CIS) Lab. His research program focuses on lifecycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation, and verification) of novel mechanical and mechatronic systems with emphasis on both the theoretical formulation and experimental validation. The rich theory of kinematics, dynamics, and control of constrained articulated mechanical systems forms the intellectual basis of his research.

Increasingly, Krovi’s research has become more focused on the biological domain where inherent multi-scale irregularities, inhomogeneities, and nonlinearities offer considerable challenges to complete characterization and understanding. His approach has been to investigate the working principles of biological systems from a mechatronic viewpoint with the goal of developing improved design and implementation methodologies for bio-inspired machines and systems. His group’s research activities have won several conference and journal best paper and best poster awards. 

Krovi has served on technical program committees and conference editorial boards of several IEEE and ASME conferences. Currently, he is serving as an associate editor of the IEEEE Transactions on Robotics and as the general conference chair for the ASME IDETC 2014. 

Event Details


  • Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    12:00 pm - Thursday, October 9, 2014
    12:59 pm
Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Room 1116

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