BME Doctoral Candidate Nicholas Wettels Wins NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) Award

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

June 11, 2009 — Nicholas Wettels, a third-year Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, was awarded a NASA GSRP fellowship for 2009 to work on the Robonaut project at Johnson Space Center. The Robonaut project’s goal is to build a robotic system that can work and explore space side by side with humans.

At USC, Wettels works in the Medical Device Development Facility, which was started by Dr. Gerald Loeb in 1999. His research revolves around creating a biomimetic tactile sensor that is compliant and robust enough to withstand the everyday human environment. Inexpensive and easily repaired, this device contains all proper sensing modalities for grasp control and object handling, including tri-axial force sensing, vibration-slip sensing, texture and thermal discrimination. “The work at Johnson Space Center will be to integrate the device with the Robonaut and adapt the sensor’s use in space,” according to Wettels.

For an overview of the Robonaut Project, go to:

For GSRP Information, go to:

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