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Profile: Juan Wachs

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Juan Wachs

Juan Wachs is part of a multinational team developing the Gestonurse surgical robot.

Credit: Greg Ruffing

Three years ago, Juan Wachs was brainstorming engineering projects with his Ph.D. students when someone suggested a robotic nurse that could hand instruments to a surgeon during an operation.

"We started laughing," says Wachs, an assistant professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind. "In the beginning, it was more like a joke. But then one of the students came up with some algorithms that suggested it could actually be done. We said, 'If we don’t try this, we’ll never know.'"

Today, Wachs and his students are part of a multinational team developing a surgical robot, dubbed Gestonurse, designed to respond to hand gestures and verbal commands. The gestures and commands correspond to specific instruments used by surgeons.

From IEEE Spectrum
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[Wachs was a co-contributor of the contributed article "Vision-Based Hand-Gesture Applications" in the February 2011 issue of Communications of the ACM, and of "Collaboration with a Robotic Scrub Nurse" in the May 2013 issue of Communications.]


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