Whiskered texture classification with uncertain contact pose geometry

Mathew H. Evans*, Martin J. Pearson, Nathan F. Lepora, Tony J. Prescott, Charles W. Fox

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


Tactile sensing can be an important source of information for robots, and texture discrimination in particular is useful in object recognition and terrain identification. Whisker based tactile sensing has recently been shown to be a promising approach for mobile robots, using simple sensors and many classification approaches. However these approaches have often been tested in limited environments, and have not been compared against one another in a controlled way. A wide range of whisker-object contact poses are possible on a mobile robot, and the effect such contact variability has on sensing has not been properly investigated. We present a novel, carefully controlled study of simple surface texture classifiers on a large set of varied pose conditions that mimic those encountered by mobile robots. Namely, single brief whisker contacts with textured surfaces at a range of surface orientations and contact speeds. Results show that different classifiers are appropriate for different settings, with spectral template and feature based approaches performing best in surface texture, and contact speed estimation, respectively. The results may be used to inform selection of classifiers in tasks such as tactile SLAM.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event25th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robotics and Intelligent Systems, IROS 2012 - Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal
Duration: 7 Oct 201212 Oct 2012


Conference25th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robotics and Intelligent Systems, IROS 2012
CityVilamoura, Algarve

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