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Tian Zhou

Research Assistant
ISAT Lab, Purdue University

   I am currently pursing a PhD degree in the Intelligent Systems and Assistive Technologies (ISAT) Lab in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, under the supervision of Dr. Wachs. In the meantime I am pursing a MS dual-degree in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University.

   My research interest lies in human robot interaction (HCI) and robot vision. More specifically, I desire to design innovative interaction and communication protocols between humans and robots, and develop new techniques leveraging on computer vision and artificial intelligence to enable an autonomous and efficient cooperation between humans and robots.


PhD in Industrial Engineering
School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University (Jan 2014 - present)

MS in Electrical Engineering
Dual degree in School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University (August 2014 - present)

Exchange Program in Electrical Engineering
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University (August 2012 - December 2012)
Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering
School of Information Science and Engineering, Southeast University (August 2009 - May 2013)
Relevant Courses


Research Experiences

Touchless telerobotic surgery–A comparative study

Teleoperated robot-assisted surgery (RAS) is becoming more popular in certain types of surgical procedures due to its dexterity, precision, high-resolution, accurate motion planning and execution capabilities, compared to traditional minimally invasive surgery which relies on hindered laparoscopic control. The most widely adopted system based on this paradigm is the daVinci robot (2014), in which the surgeon manipulates joysticks in a master console using 3D imaging for guidance. Then robotic arms mimic the surgeon’s movements on the patient’s side. Some of the drawbacks of this system are related with the user experience, since the surgeon has to retrain in order to learn how to operate cumbersome interfaces and in the process some of the intuitive hand gestures related with in situ surgery are lost.

To address this problem, we have developed an innovative system to involve touchless interfaces for telesurgery. This type of solution, when applied to robotic surgery, has the potential to allow surgeons to operate as if they were physically engaged with the surgery in-situ (as standard in traditional surgery). By relying on touchless interfaces, the system can incorporate more natural gestures that are similar to instinctive movements performed by surgeons when operating, thus enhancing the user experience and overall system performance. Sensory substitution methods are used as well to deliver force feedback to the user during teleoperation.

We conducted a comprehensive evaluation among sate-of-the-art touchless gaming technologies and the feasibility of their adoption into the surgical theater. The final experiment result indicates that all the touchless interfaces occur in the final optimal interface set, thus shows the potential of gaming technologies for being part of the clinical setting in the near future.

Selected papers: Touchless telerobotic surgery - A comparative study.



Tian Zhou, M. E. Cabrera, and J. Wachs, " Touchless telerobotic surgery - A comparative study" in 3rd Workshop on Telerobotics for Real-Life Applications, Opportunities, Challenges and New Developments, as part of IEEE EEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 14–18, 2014.

Tian Zhou, S. Fang, X. Yang, Z. Li, Q. Guo, B. Jiang " A Jacobi-based Parallel Algorithm for Matrix Inverse Computations" in International Conference on Wireless Communications and Signal Processing, October 2012.

X. Yang, Z. Li, S. Fang, Tian Zhou, B. Jiang, Q. Guo " One-Side Jacobi Matrix Inversion Algorithm and DSP Realization ", Hans Journal of Wireless Communications, No. 3 (June 2013), pp. 71-76



S. Fang, T. Zhou, X. Yang "Parallel matrix inversion method for multi-antenna system'', Patent CN102882579 A, June 2013.


Course Projects

Computer Vision
  • Implement image mosaic from scratch. RANSAC, SIFT, under construction

  • Designed a student management database system using Oracle's SQLPlus server. Wrote different kinds of queries to extract useful information from the system.
  • Designed a library management system. Implemented all kinds of triggers, functions and procedures to simulate the process of checking and returning books in library.
  • Designed a patient scheduling and medical insurance database for real-world hospital information system. I used SQLPlus to simulate the functionality of temporal database. Real-world like management of schedules related to doctor and patient activities and generating billing information regarding insurance reimbursement were accomplished.

C++ & Java

Embedded System



Study Abroad Foundation(SAF) Exchange Scholarship, June 2012

RuiAn Scholarship for international exchange program, June 2012

Most Influential Graduate Honor, ranked 1st among 18 candidates in the class of 2013, Southeast University.

National Scholarship in 2010 - 2011 academic year, ranked 1st among 15 candidates, Ministry of Education of China

National Scholarship in 2009 - 2010 academic year, ranked 2nd among 15 candidates, Ministry of Education of China

Outstanding Student of Academic Records, ranked 6th among 237 students, Southeast University

Merit Student, 2009 - 2010 academic year and 2010 - 2011 academic year, Southeast University



Programming Language: C++, Python, Java, MATLAB, SQL, Latex, HTML, VHDL, Verilog

Familiar packages: OpenCV, ROS, OpenNI, boost

IDE: Microsoft Visual Studio, QT, Eclipse

Hardware: Taurus robot(SRI), Baxter(rethink robotics), Kinect, Omega 7, Leap Motion, Myo Armband, Raspberry Pi


Other Activities

Public Relations Chair, Industrial Engineering Graduation Student Association (IEGSO), Purdue University (August 2014 - present)

Member, Indiana Veteran's Home(June 2014 - August 2014)

Member, Boiler out! Volunteer program, Purdue University (2012 - present)

Vice-minister, Cultural Department of Student Union of School of Information Science and Engineering, Southeast University (2009 - 2011 )

Third place in Campus Sales Competition, Southeast University (2012)



Designed partially based on Mithun Jacob's personal website.