Dr. O'Malley's research focuses on the design, modeling, and control of electromechanical devices and systems. She is interested in the design and control of haptic interfaces and bilateral telemanipulation systems. Her interests also include the development of human-machine interfaces for human-assisted movement and the modeling of human-robot interactions.
Dr. O'Malley received her B.S. from Purdue University and M.S. and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Dr. O'Malley is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She is a co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics, holds a joint appointment in Computer Science at Rice, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at both Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
At Rice, her research interests focus on the issues that arise when humans physically interact with robotic systems. One thrust of her lab is the design of haptic feedback and shared control between robotic devices and their human users for training and rehabilitation in virtual environments. Psychophysical studies provide insight into the effect of haptic cues on human motor adaptation, skill acquisition, and the restoration of motor coordination. She has also explored the use of haptic devices for teaching the fundamentals of dynamic systems and control in the mechanical engineering curriculum.
In 2008, she received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University. O’Malley is a 2004 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator and the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2005. She received the Best Paper Award at the 2011 IEEE World Haptics Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Best Robotics Paper Award at the 2013 ASME Dynamic Systems and Controls Conference. She is the former chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics and was on the founding editorial board for the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. She also served on the editorial board of the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics.