Dr. Netta Gurari, BHS 2000, presents to students on the science of touch

BHS engineering and robotics students had a visit recently from a haptics and robotics expert who also happens to be a Bexley alum: Dr. Netta Gurari, BHS class of 2000. Dr. Gurari, who was in town to participate in the Bex Talks lecture series at Bexley Public Library, dropped in at BHS to speak to Mr. Cummins’ engineering class. She stayed after school to meet with the robotics team as well.

Dr. Gurari, currently a research associate at Northwestern University, earned her doctorate fromDSC_0020
Johns Hopkins in mechanical

engineering. She studies haptics, the science of touch. Her research is focused on bringing function to those who have lost their sense of touch due to birth defects or stroke.

During her talk, she asked a student to identify small objects while blindfolded. “This is actually a very complex task,” she said, pointing out that identifying something as simple as a pen involves sensing its texture, weight, shape, hardness, and temperature.

Dr. Gurari aims, through her research, to improve the quality of life of people with limited or non-existent sense of touch or poor control of movement, whether they wear a prosthetic limb or their sense has deteriorated. “As humans, we can do remarkable things. As robots, we have a long way to go.” Her presentation, however, showed that we have also made significant progress.