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Publication - Dr 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, N, 2018, ‘The TacTip Family: Soft Optical Tactile Sensors with 3D-Printed Biomimetic Morphologies’. Soft Robotics.


    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