Hi, I'm a PhD student in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. I'm being advised by Nancy Pollard and am part of the CMU Graphics Lab.

Research Interests

I'm generally interested in manipulation and grasping, in particular, how to create natural-looking hand motions using physically-based techniques. I'm interested in this problem from a computer graphics perspective (creating natural hand motions on human characters) and from a robotics perspective (creating dexterous robotic hands). However, the largest portion of my work has actually involved observing how humans use their hands and why. I have used a variety of methods to observe human manipulation including using slow-motion video and controlled experiments. The aim of my research is to use these observations of human grasping in order to create better, more robust artificial manipulators.

Education / Previous Work

I received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After graduating, I worked for a year and a half as a software engineer at Palm, Inc. around the time it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard, before applying to graduate school.


Y. Nakamura, D. Troniak, A. Rodriguez, M.T. Mason, and N.S. Pollard. "The Complexities of Grasping in the Wild," IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robotics (Humanoids 2017). [project] [pdf]

J. Liu, F. Feng, Y. Nakamura, and N.S. Pollard. "A Taxonomy of Everyday Grasps in Action," IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robotics (Humanoids 2014), pp.573-580, November, 2014.

Just for fun

As hobbies, I enjoy making art, playing violin, producing musicals, and playing board games with friends. For SIGBOVIK 2017, I wrote a paper analyzing ~60 games of Avalon: "Is it Percival time yet?: A preliminary analysis of Avalon gameplay and strategy."