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BIOmimetic Technology for vibrissal ACtive Touch

Objective

BIOTACT will develop novel biomimetic computational methods and technologies for active touch sensing. The project is inspired by the functionality, morphology, and neural processing architectures of biological sensory systems that use tactile hairs known as whiskers or vibrissae. It will focus on two animals that are tactile specialists--the Norwegian rat and the Etruscan shrew. Both species make actively-controlled sweeping movements of their facial whiskers ("whisking") as they explore their environments. Specific objectives are to understand, and then 'reverse-engineer' in the form of computational models, the ability of these animals to:i. generate fast rhythmic whisking behaviour, exquisitely modulated by sensory feedback, that allows precise positioning of the vibrissae in a manner that maximises information uptake;ii. accurately determine object properties such as position, shape and texture, encode tactile memories that can support recognition of familiar items and places, and make rapid and accurate decisions about object identity and spatial location;iii. determine the parameters of movement, shape, and position of detected prey animals that allow their tracking and capture using tactile sense data alone.The achievement of these goals will be demonstrated and extended through the development of two biomimetic artefacts:i. a novel active tactile sensing array--termed a BIOTACT sensor--with many hundreds of vibrissa-like sensing elements, that can fulfil a wide variety of sensing functions well beyond the capacity of existing tactile sensory devices.ii. an autonomous whiskered robot with the ability to seek-out, identify, track, and capture fast-moving target objects.Further objectives are to foster and accelerate research within the wider community of active touch researchers and to train young scientists in the multi-disciplinary skills needed to ensure rapid future progress in this field.
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Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

Address

Firth Court Western Bank
S10 2tn Sheffield

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 341 642

Administrative Contact

Deborah McClean (Ms.)

Participants (9)

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ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 395 045

HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITAET ZU BERLIN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 727 668

Brain Vision Systems

France

EU Contribution

€ 435 966

WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 711 409

BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 356 421

SCUOLA INTERNAZIONALE SUPERIORE DI STUDI AVANZATI DI TRIESTE

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 704 162

UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND, BRISTOL

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 711 347

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 16 253

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

United States

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 215910

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 January 2008

  • End date

    30 June 2012

Funded under:

FP7-ICT

  • Overall budget:

    € 7 778 998

  • EU contribution

    € 5 399 913

Coordinated by:

THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD

United Kingdom