Dr. Lynette A Jones

Senior Research Scientist

Primary DLC

Department of Mechanical Engineering

MIT Room: 3-137

Areas of Interest and Expertise

Tactile and Proprioceptive Sensory Systems
Human Operator Performance
Haptic Interfaces Used to Control Teleoperated Robots, in Particular Microsurgical Robots
Man-Machine Systems
Non-Invasive Health Care Monitoring
Neural Control of Movement

Research Summary

Dr. Jones' research focuses on a number of areas related to human haptic perception and motor performance. Much of this work is conducted in the context of the design of haptic, tactile and thermal interfaces that human operators use to interact with computer-generated virtual environments or to control robotic devices. This entails basic research on the human proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems in order to understand how these systems operate in terms of their sensitivity to different variables (i.e. force, limb position, inertia, compliance) and to determine the role of various feedback systems (i.e. signals from muscle, joint and cutaneous receptors) in perception. The applied research on haptic interfaces is focused on developing tactile displays that can be worn on the torso or arms and used as navigation aids. A number of tactile displays based on small electromagnetic actuators have been built and evaluated in laboratory and field settings.

Another area of research involves system identification studies of the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) and the development of a portable vestibular testing apparatus. The objective of this research is to develop the experimental equipment, protocol, and analytic algorithms required to conduct a system identification of the VOR under natural conditions during which the VOR is used to stabilize vision.

A final area of study is related to an interest in human and robotic hand function and involves the design and construction of a hand testing apparatus based on a novel actuator design. The four-finger apparatus enables biomechanical and psychophysical studies to be performed on the fingers, with inputs being delivered simultaneously to up to four digits.

Recent Work

  • Video

    Lynette Jones - 2019 Madrid Video

    November 7, 2019Conference Video Duration: 19:31

    MICA: Revolutionizing STEM Education

    The traditional lecture and laboratory approach used in teaching science and engineering has dominated education at high schools and universities for centuries. Although classroom demonstrations are sometimes used to provide instructive and motivating examples of taught concepts, in large classes they are difficult to see and without direct “hands on” involvement of the students have limited effect. Our initiative to address this shortcoming is MICA (Measurement, Instrumentation, Control and Analysis) an educational approach designed for subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Students interact with an experimental workstation (MICA workstation) to conduct experiments, analyze data, undertake parameter estimation, and fit mathematical models, while learning the theory and relevant subject history under the guidance of a virtual tutor (MICA avatar). As students interact with the MICA workstations their skill level, rate of learning and progress is quantified. Based on these data, deep learning techniques and mathematical modelling are then used to generate an individualized model of a student’s state of knowledge which is augmented every time the student interacts with a MICA workstation. This ‘state of knowledge’ model is then used by the MICA tutor to personalize (and eventually optimize) the teaching pace as well as the way in which subject material is delivered.

    2019 MIT Madrid Symposium