Sensing Through the Body - Non-Contact Object Localisation Using Morphological Computation

Euan Judd, Gabor Soter, Jonathan Rossiter, Helmut Hauser

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
164 Downloads (Pure)


Biological systems exhibit remarkable sensing capabilities by using a widely distributed sensor network and a tight coupling between body and environment. The result are seemingly highly robust and adaptive solutions. To enable the next generation of embodied robots with similar capabilities, we need to develop novel sensing and computational technologies. In this paper, we propose an approach using proprioceptive sensing and leveraging the system-environmental interaction in soft robotics based on the principle of morphological computation, i.e. the use of morphological features for computational tasks. We exploit the body dynamics of a moving octopus-inspired robot tentacle in coordination with the dynamics of the surrounding water to predict the position of objects in its vicinity without touching them. The values of proprioceptive strain sensors, which were emulated with the help of computer vision techniques on recorded videos of the experiments, and simple linear regression on these values were sufficient to solve this computational prediction problem. We were able to demonstrate that the body of the soft tentacle could be used to “feel” the location of an object by observing its own body dynamics (strain sensors) which are responding to changes (i.e. different positions of the object) in the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft 2019)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538692608
ISBN (Print)9781538692615
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019
Event2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2019 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 14 Apr 201918 Apr 2019


Conference2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2019
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • Soft Robotics
  • Reservoir Computing
  • Embodied Artificial Intelligence
  • Morphological Computation


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