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Understanding neural coding of touch as enabling technology for prosthetics and robotics

coordinator
PI
Lines
Neural Computation (S. Panzeri) Event-Driven Perception for Robotics (C. Bartolozzi)
Budget
2019 - 2023
Dexterous manipulation is a fundamental skill to improve interaction capabilities of service and industrial robots, and develop prosthetic devices that enable amputees to regain hand functionality, for improving their independence and quality of life and for reintegration in working environments. The sense of touch is crucial for any skilled manipulation; it is fundamental to establish contact and acquire the information needed for hand/object interactions, and for perceiving variations in the contact itself (slip, vibrations, duration, pressure). Touch is crucial for robots that physically interact with objects and humans, to sense the properties of objects, learn how to use them, and enable cooperation. Touch is crucial for the successful deployment of prosthetic devices, to evoke a natural sensation of contact that conveys information about the stimulus, making prostheses easier to use and accept. NeuTouch aims at improving artificial tactile perception in robots and prostheses, by understanding how to best extract, integrate and exploit tactile information at system level. To this aim, NeuTouch will train young researchers that will build up a novel multidisciplinary community, that will tackle fundamental questions about neural encoding of tactile information, by developing computational tools and models capable of explaining the activity in the biological neural pathway and link it to behavioral decisions. The identified underlying neuronal processing principles will guide the design of novel sensing devices and algorithms to improve tactile exploration and manipulation skills in robots and tactile feedback in prosthetic devices. A scientifically strong international consortium is complemented by non-academic participants that recognize the impact of the proposed approach and resulting technology. All will support the professional growth of individuals, addressing entrepreneurship, communication, best practice, open science and gender equality
NeuTouch
EU