Soft morphological processing of tactile stimuli for autonomous category formation

Luca Scimeca, Perla Maiolino, Fumiya Iida. IEEE RoboSoft 2018.

In collaboration with University of Cambridge

Abstract Sensor morphology is a fundamental aspect of tactile sensing technology. Design choices induce stimuli to be morphologically processed, changing the sensory perception of the touched objects and affecting inference at a later processing stage. We develop a framework to analyze the filtered sensor response and observe the correspondent change in tactile information. We test the morphological processing effects on the tactile stimuli by integrating a capacitive tactile sensor into a flat end-effector and creating three soft silicon-based filters with varying thickness (3mm, 6mm and 10mm). We incorporate the end-effector onto a robotic arm. We control the arm in order to apply a calibrated force onto 4 objects, and retrieve tactile images. We create an unsupervised inference process through the use of Principal Component Analysis and K-Means Clustering. We use the process to group the sensed objects into 2 classes and observe how different soft filters affect the clustering results. The sensor response with the 3mm soft filter allows for edges to be the feature with most variance (captured by P CA) and induces the association of edged objects. With thicker soft filters the associations change, and with a 10mm filter the sensor response results more diverse for objects with different elongation. We show that the clustering is intrinsically driven by the morphology of the sensor and that the robot’s world understanding changes according to it.

Soft morphological processing of tactile stimuli for autonomous category formation