The TacTip Family: Soft Optical Tactile Sensors with 3D-Printed Biomimetic Morphologies

Benjamin Ward-Cherrier*, Nicholas Pestell, Luke Cramphorn, Benjamin Winstone, Maria Elena Giannaccini, Jonathan Rossiter, Nathan F. Lepora

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

332 Citations (Scopus)
741 Downloads (Pure)


Tactile sensing is an essential component in human-robot interaction and object manipulation. Soft sensors allow for safe interaction and improved gripping performance. Here we present the TacTip family of sensors: a range of soft optical tactile sensors with various morphologies fabricated through dual-material 3D printing. All of these sensors are inspired by the same biomimetic design principle: transducing deformation of the sensing surface via movement of pins analogous to the function of intermediate ridges within the human fingertip. The performance of the TacTip, TacTip-GR2, TacTip-M2, and TacCylinder sensors is here evaluated and shown to attain submillimeter accuracy on a rolling cylinder task, representing greater than 10-fold super-resolved acuity. A version of the TacTip sensor has also been open-sourced, enabling other laboratories to adopt it as a platform for tactile sensing and manipulation research. These sensors are suitable for real-world applications in tactile perception, exploration, and manipulation, and will enable further research and innovation in the field of soft tactile sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
JournalSoft Robotics
Issue number2
Early online date3 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • dexterous manipulation
  • soft sensors
  • tactile sensors


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