Tactile Superresolution Sensing

Tactile Superresolution

Superresolution encompasses a range of techniques for transcending the resolution limit of a sensor and earned the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (for superresolved fluorescence microscopy).

Superresolution is analogous to biological hyperacuity of vision and touch where the discrimination is finer than the spacing between sensory receptors. Superresolution research in visual imaging has impacted science from cell biology to medical scanning 'in ways unthinkable in the mid-90s' (Editorial, Nature 2009).

The success of this proposal will enable the widespread uptake of superresolution techniques in the domain of artificial tactile sensing, potentially impacting multiple application areas across robotics from autonomous quality control in manufacturing to sensorized grippers for autonomous manipulation to sensorized prosthetic hands and medical probes in healthcare.

Proposed research

The development of robust and accurate artificial touch is required for autonomous robotic systems to interact physically with complex environments, underlying the future robotization of broad areas of manufacturing, food production, healthcare and assisted living that presently rely on human labour. Currently, there are many designs for tactile sensors and various methodologies for perception, from which general principles are emerging, such as taking inspiration from human touch, using statistical approaches to capture sensor and environment uncertainty and combining tactile sensor control and perception.

All application areas of robot touch are currently limited by the capabilities of tactile sensors. This proposal aims to demonstrate that tactile superresolution can radically improve tactile sensor performance and thus potentially impact all areas of robotics involving physical interaction with complex environments. Visual superresolution has revolutionised the life sciences by enabling the imaging of nanoscale features within cells. Tactile superresolution has the potential to drive a step-change in tactile robotics, with applications from quality control and autonomous manipulators in manufacturing to sensorized prosthetics and probes in healthcare.

Back to Tactile Robotics

Theme Leader

Soft robotics team

  • Dr Nathan Lepora
  • Prof Jonathan Rossiter
  • Dr Maria-Elena Giannaccini
  • Dr Martin Pearson
  • Dr Benjamin Winstone
  • Ms Kirsty Aquilina
  • Mr Luke Cramphorn
  • Mr Nicholas Pestell
  • Ms Emma Roscow
  • Mr Ben Ward-Cherrier

Page last updated 16 November 2016