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) - human sense of touch

Invited speakers

Edward Adelson & Wenzhen Yuan (MIT) – artificial tactile perception and tactile sensor fabrication

Jeremy Fishel (Syntouch) – bio-inspired active touch and tactile sensor fabrication

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

Shinichi Hirai (Ritsumeikan Univ) - soft biomimetic tactile sensing

Allison Okamura (Stanford) – haptic feedback in humans

Tony Prescott (Univ Sheffield) – active touch, biomimetic whiskered robots

Nitish Thakor (Singapore Inst) - soft haptic neuroprosthetics (invited)

Pablo Vadivia (Singapore Univ) – underwater biomimetic touch

Yon Visell (UCSB) – active touch and haptics (invited)


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