Active touch for perception and interaction:

How nature inspires robotics

ICRA 2018 Workshop - Friday 25 May, 2018

Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia

In this one-day workshop we will bring together experts from the diverse range of disciplines involved in natural and artificial touch, encompassing engineers, biologists, psychologists and computer scientists.


Robots with a biomimetic level of tactile perception and interaction capability would transform our economy and society, with applications ranging from assistive robots in factories and at home, social interaction, healthcare and disaster rescue. The natural sense of touch that inspires technology is not limited merely to the anatomy of the sensory organs, but encompasses also the active behaviours and habits in using touch to interact with the environment, both in humans and animals. This workshop will encompass recent progress in the area of active touch for perception and interaction from the perspective of how nature inspires robotics.

Topics of interest include

- control of tactile sensors integrated with robotic devices such as robot hands

- new trends in biomimetic tactile sensing technology that facilitate active touch

- morphological computation that benefits active touch

- psychophysics and neuroscience of active touch in humans, rodents and other animals

- role of covert and overt attentional mechanisms in active touch

- interplay between active touch and other sensory modalities e.g. vision, proprioception



Vincent Hayward (UPMC Univ Paris) -mechanics of tactile perception

Invited speakers

Edward Adelson & Wenzhen Yuan (MIT) – high-resolution tactile sensing for active perception

Gordon Cheng (TUM) – active and neuromorphic touch

Shinichi Hirai (Ritsumeikan Univ) - fabric/fiber tactile sensing

Stephen Redmond (Univ New South Wales) - incipient slip and grip force control

Ravinder Dahiya (Univ Glasgow) - robotic tactile sensing and electronic skin

Alberto Rodriguez (MIT) - tactile grasping and large dataset methods

Alex Schmitz & Sophon Somlor (Waseda Univ) - active exploration with a tactile robot hand

Allison Okamura (Stanford) – skin deformation feedback for active touch in virtual environments

Ben Ward-Cherrier (Univ Bristol) - neuromorphic tactile sensing

Pablo Vadivia (Singapore Univ) – underwater biomimetic touch

Thrish Nanyakkara – active search for haptic information


Nathan Lepora (Univ Bristol & Bristol Robotics Lab) - biomimetic sensor fabrication and active touch

Van Ho (Japan Adv Inst of Science and Tech.) - human and artificial touch

Hongbin Liu (Kings College London) - tactile robotics in medicine

Lorenzo Natale (Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia) - humanoid touch

Gordon Cheng (Technische Universitat Munchen) - biomimetic touch