Tactile Sensing

How important is tactile sensing for manipulation? Many of our projects are driven by the assumption that the answer to this question is "critically important". The human tactile system is superb in its ability to collect and centralize large amounts of multi-modal data. In robotics, decades of progress have provided us with numerous ways of transducing contact force and displacement to an electric signal; still, we are nowhere near the ability to build a robot hand with an integrated tactile system that would even approach its human counterpart. Our goal is to build tactile sensing systems that provide very rich data on many aspects of touch, allow complete coverage of complex geometry and articulated kinematic chains, and do not present unsurmountable integration challenges when built into complete robot hand.

A significant part of our work on tactile sensing is in collaboration with the Columbia CLUE Lab.

Selected publications and resources

  • P. Piacenza, K. Behrman, B. Schifferer, I. Kymissis and M. Ciocarlie. "A Sensorized Multicurved Robot Finger with Data-driven Touch Sensing via Overlapping Light Signals", IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 25(5), 2020 [arXivvideo, link to IEEE XPlore]
  • P. Piacenza. "Data-driven Tactile Sensing using Spatially Overlapping Signals", Columbia University Doctoral Dissertation, 2020 [pdf]
  • P. PiacenzaC. BaumgartE. HanniganY. Xiao, S. Park, W. DangJ. Espinal, I. Hussein, I. Kymissis and M. Ciocarlie. “Touch Sensors with Overlapping Signals: Concept Investigation on Planar Sensors with Resistive or Optical Transduction”, [arXiv]
  • P. PiacenzaS. Sherman and M. Ciocarlie. “Data-driven super resolution on a tactile dome”, IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters, 3(3), 2018 [arXivvideo]