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Blake Hannaford

Blake Hannaford
Director, Biorobotics Laboratory
Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: (206) 543-2197

University of California, Berkeley 1985 Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley 1982 M.S.
Yale University 1977 B.S.


Blake Hannaford received the B.S. degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University in 1977, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Before graduate study, he held engineering positions in digital hardware and software design, office automation, and medical image processing. At Berkeley he pursued thesis research in multiple target tracking in medical images and the control of time-optimal voluntary human movement. From 1986 to 1989 he worked on the remote control of robot manipulators in the Man-Machine Systems Group in the Automated Systems Section of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech. He supervised that group from 1988 to 1989. Since September 1989, he has been at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was awarded the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award and the Early Career Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. His currently active interests include haptic displays on the internet, surgical biomechanics, and biologically based design of robot manipulators. He is the founding editor of Haptics-e, The Electronic Journal of Haptics Research (


UW Electrical Engineering Dept. Outstanding Research Advisor Award, May 2010.

EDGE surgical skills evaluation device, a commercial product licensed from the UW Biorobotics Lab was selected as one of 8 winnners of the 2008 Innovation of the year by the Society of Laparoscopic Surgeons, (Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine, Dec 2008).

IEEE Fellow for “contributions to haptic interfaces and telerobotic systems.” January, 2006.


Adjunct Professor of Surgery. Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering. Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering. 0% Core Faculty UW Digital Arts Program (DXARTS).

Affiliated Researcher, Intel Research Lab, Seattle.

Visiting Professor, Department of Surgical Technology, Imperial College, London

Research Interests

My two main research thrusts are haptic interfaces and medical robotics. Haptic interfaces apply robotic techniques to develop better ways to interface humans and computers. Medical robots assist surgeons in performing difficult manipulations such as microsurgery. My students and I study control systems, electronic and electromechanical design, sensors, and human performance as they relate to haptics and medical robotics.

Biorobotics Lab:

Selected Publications

J. Rosen, J.D. Brown, L. Chang, M. Sinanan, B. Hannaford, ’Generalized Approach for Modeling Minimally Invasive Surgery as a Stochastic Process Using a Discrete Markov Model,’ IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 53, pp. 399-413, March 2006.

J. Rosen and B. Hannaford. Doc at a distance. IEEE Spectrum, pages 34–39, October 2006. (Cover Article

S. De, J. Rosen, A. Dagan, P. Swanson, M. Sinanan, B. Hannaford. Tissue Damage due to Mechanical Stresses as applied during Minimally Invasive Surgery,’ International Journal of Robotics Research, vol. 26, pp. 1159-1171, Nov-2007

J. Rosen, J. Brown, S. De, M. Sinanan, B. Hannnaford Biomechanical Properties of Abdominal Organs In Vivo and Postmortem Under Compression Loads J. Biomechancal Engineering, vol. 130, 8-Apr-2008.

M. Lum, D. Friedman, J. Rosen, G. Sankaranarayanan, H. King, K. Fodero, R. Leuschke, M. Sinanan, and B. Hannaford. The RAVEN - design and validation of a telesurgery system. International Journal of Robotics Research, 28:1183–1197, September 2009.

More Publications:

Recent Conference Papers

G. Sankaranarayanan and B. Hannaford. Comparison of performance of virtual coupling schemes for haptic collaboration using real and emulated internet connections. In Proceedings of Robocom 2007, Athens, Greece, October 2007.

M.J.H Lum, J. Rosen, H. King, D.C.W. Friedman, G. Donlin, G. Sankaranarayanan, B. Harnett, L. Huffnam, C. Doarn, T. Broderick, and B. Hannaford. Telesurgery via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a field deployable surgical robot. In Proceedings, Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR), Long Beach, CA, 2007.

M.J.H. Lum, D.C.W. Friedman, G. Sankaranarayanan, H. King, A. Wright, M. Sinanan, T. Lendvay, J. Rosen, and B. Hannaford. Objective assessment of telesurgical robot systems: Telerobotic FLS. In Proceedings, Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR), Long Beach, CA, 29-Jan — 1-Feb 2008

G. Sankaranarayanan and B. Hannaford. Experimental comparison of internet haptic collaboration with time-delay compensation techniques. In Proceedings, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2008), pages 206–211, Pasadena, CA, 2008

X. Yu, H. J. Chizeck, and B. Hannaford. Comparison of transient performance in the control of soft tissue grasping. In Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, San Diego, CA, October 2007.

E. Naerum and B. Hannaford. Global transparency analysis of the lawrence teleoperator architecture. In Accepted: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2009

M.J.H. Lum, J. Rosen, T.S. Lendvay, M.N. Sinanan, and B. Hannaford. Effect of time delay on telesur- gical performance. In IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2009.

E Naerum, H. Hawkeye King, and B. Hannaford. Robustness of the unscented kalman filter for state and parameter estimation in an elastic transmission. In Proceedings Robotics Science and Systems 2009 (, Seattle, July 2009.

M.J.H. Lum, J. Rosen, H. H. King, D.W. Friedman, T.S. Lendvay, A. S. Wright, M.N. Sinanan, and B. Hannaford. Teleoperation in surgical robotics - network latency effects on surgical performance. In Proceedings,31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE EMBS, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, September 2-6 2009.

H.H. King, K. Tadano, R. Donlin, D. Friedman, M.J.H. Lum, V. Asch, C. Wang, K. Kawashima, and B. Hannaford. Preliminary protocol for interoperable telesurgery. In Advanced Robotics, 2009. ICAR 2009. International Conference on, pages 1–6,, 22-26 June 2009.

H.H. King, R. Donlin, and B. Hannaford. Haptic thresholds for single vs. multi-finger icons. In Pro- ceedings of North American Haptics Symposium 2010, March 2010.

H.H. King, B. Hannaford, J. Kammerl, and E. Steinbach. Establishing multimodal telepresense sessions using the session initiation protocol (SIP) and advanced haptic codecs. In Proceedings of North American Haptics Symposium 2010, March 2010.

B. Redmond, R. Aina, T. Gorti, and B. Hannaford. Haptic characteristics of some activities of daily living. In North American Haptics Symposium 2010, March 2010.

B. Hannaford, J. Dosher, and S. Venkatachalam. Haptic exploration of spheres: Techniques and initial experiments. In North American Haptics Symposium 2010, March 2010.

H. Hawkeye King, Blake Hannaford, Ka-Wai Kwok, Guang-Zhong Yang, Paul Griffiths, Allison Oka- mura, Ildar Farkhatdinov, Jee-Hwan Ryu, Ganesh Sankaranarayanan, Venkata Arikatla, Kotaro Tadano, Kenji Kawashima, Angelika Peer, Thomas Schau, Martin Buss, Levi Miller, Daniel Glozman, Jacob Rosen, and Thomas Low. Plugfest 2009: Global interoperability in telerobotics and telemedicine. In International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2010, May 2010.

Recent Invited Lectures and Seminars

May 2010 “Surgical Robotics the last 20 years,” 50th Anniversary Keynote lecture, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Anchorage, Ak,

Sept 09 “Haptics and Telesurgery,” Summer School on Surgical Robotics, Montpellier France.

May 09 “Telesurgery via the Internet,” Imperial College London. April 09 “Biorobotics Research in Surgery,” Association of Health Care Journalists, UW Campus visit from Seattle National Meeting.

February 09, “When to stop? What is the limit of safe tissue manipulation in surgery?”, Bioengineering Department Seminar (BIOEN 509), University of Washington, Seattle.

January 09, “Telesurgery,” Johns Hopkins Winter School on Surgical Robotics, Baltimore Md.

September 08 “Markov Modeling of Errors,” American College of Surgeons (ACS) Postgraduate Course, “Exploring New Educational Opportunities Through the Consortium of ACS-accredited Education Institutes,” Seattle

August 08 “Surgery over the Internet,” National Taiwan University, Taiwan August 08 “Surgery over the Internet,” National Central University, Taiwan

August 08 “Introduction to the Science and Technology of Haptics.” (40 contact hours). 1-Week Course for IT Faculty, Advanced Institute for Information Technology, Seoul, Korea.

April 08 “Surgery over the Internet,” Applied Physics Lab Seminar, Seattle WA.

March 08 “Surgery over the Internet,” GRASP lab seminar, University of Pensylvania.

Professional Society Memberships

IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE Fellow), AAAS

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