Active Touch with a Biomimetic 3D-printed Whiskered Robot

Nathan Lepora, Martin Pearson, Luke Cramphorn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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We propose a new design of active tactile whiskered robot: the actuated TacWhisker array, analogous to motile tactile vibrissae such as the rodent macrovibrissae. The design is particularly simple, being completely 3D-printed, only having one motor to actuate all 10 whiskers, and utilizing optical tactile sensing to transduce whisker deflections into bending moments. This robot is used to investigate active touch on a simple localization task where the robot seeks to move the whisker array to centre on a stimulus while perceiving its location. Active localization with a threshold-crossing decision rule was found to rapidly improve the perceptual errors with successive whisks. Curiously, although the sensing is dominated by the whisker motion, this does not appreciably affect performance on this simple task. Overall, the robot promises to give a simple embodiment of whisker-based active touch to give insight into the mechanisms underlying perception in the mammalian brain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems
Subtitle of host publicationLiving Machines 2018: Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISBN (Print)9783319959719
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Link
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


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