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Publication - Professor Nathan Lepora

    The TacTip Family

    Soft Optical Tactile Sensors with 3D-Printed Biomimetic Morphologies


    Ward-Cherrier, B, Pestell, N, Cramphorn, L, Winstone, B, Giannaccini, ME, Rossiter, J & Lepora, NF, 2018, ‘The TacTip Family: Soft Optical Tactile Sensors with 3D-Printed Biomimetic Morphologies’. Soft Robotics, vol 5., pp. 216-227


    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.

    Full details in the University publications repository