Lee White

My Personal and Professional Life

Current Research

My current Research Assistants appointment is in the BioRobotics Laboratory in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Washington.  The Principal Investigator is Blake Hannaford.


My research is on surgeon skill evaluation in robotic surgery.  Our research group plans to develop ways to assess the skill of surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery with laparoscopic tools and using surgical robots like the Intuitive Surgical daVinci.  We intend to use machine learning methods to do this.  The lab is also at the beginning of an all-hands-on-deck project to build 7 new Raven Surgical Robots.  Raven is a surgical robot capable of performing MIS weighing around 50 lbs and able to be operated by surgeons a world away from their patient if needed.

Raven Surgical Robot

The Raven Surgical Robot developed in the BioRobotics Laboratory at the University of Washington.

Past Research

Neurobotics Lab

My former Research Assistant appointment was in the Neurobotics Lab in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington.  The Principal Investigator is Yoky Matsuoka.


The lab is interested in robotics and motor control.  One major project is the Anatomically Correct Testbed Hand Project.  I worked on the development of the ACT Hand platform for research into control and improvement of robotic prosthetic hands.  I developed a system of tension sensors to measure the tendon tension in the hand.  This information will be used to control the hand as well as understand the role of tendon tension in the human hand when we touch objects.

I continue to aim to develop prostheses that integrate easily and safely with the human nervous system and which are robust and low-cost for use in developing countries.

Summer 2009

Proportional controller used to control ACT finger.  I helped develop this controller for the 2009 Robotics Science and Systems Conference.  Similar controllers I helped develop are still in use in the lab.

Anatomically Correct Testbed hand on a Barrett Whole Arm Manipulator