Research Topic

Get in Touch: Technologies for Tactile-Based Robot Control and Human-Robot Cooperation

About this Research Topic

The sense of touch is fundamental for humans to perceive and react to dynamic phenomena in the real world. With the expansion of robotics into new application scenarios, the need to provide robots with this sensing modality is significantly increased, which has encouraged the response of the scientific community to study and develop technological solutions for the design of a wide range of tactile sensing solutions. The sense of touch entails important aspects (e.g., control, safety, perception, synergy with other sensing modalities) that go beyond the availability of a specific technology and can be exploited in new domains (human-robot interaction, workspace exploration, reactive behaviors, etc.).
This Research Topic wants to focus on new classes of robot manipulation and control problems, tasks, and applications featuring tactile feedback as the main sensing modality, and its role when intertwined with other sensing modalities.

In the future, robots will be expected to manipulate objects characterized by uncertain characteristics, such as mass, softness, friction, operating in poorly or non-structured environments where unplanned contacts may arise, or interacting with humans to physically collaborate when executing joint tasks. There is a gross imbalance in the techniques used to address these problems by relying on technologies like machine vision, but in all these conditions, tactile sensing is bound to play a key role to ensure safe operations either alone or in synergy with other sensing modalities. As possible examples, reactive tactile-based control algorithms can help deal with unexpected contacts, tactile-based gesture recognition can improve interactions with humans, whereas tactile sensing can provide information about mechanical characteristics of the objects the robot is in contact with, and improve recognition/classification in manipulation and exploration tasks.

This Research Topic is aimed at closing the gap and contributing to tactile sensing as a mature robot technology. In particular, the aims are:
● to highlight the potential of new tactile-based solutions to approach new robot applications
● to present new algorithms and new robot tasks whereby tactile sensing can be effective and unique
● to exploit the role of tactile sensing and perception in robot cognitive tasks, and finally
● to assess its role for the safety of robot operations

The scope of the Research Topic addresses, although it is not limited to, the following topics:

Tactile based data processing and robot control
● Tactile-based robot control
● Tactile-based data recognition and classification
● Tactile data representation, processing and interpretation
● Tactile sensing and contact modelling
● Learning for tactile data processing
● Software architectures for large-scale tactile data processing

Safety in tactile based robot systems
● Hardware and embedded networking
● Hardware for real-time data processing
● Robot control aspects

Tactile-based robot tasks and applications
● New classes of tactile-based robot tasks and behaviors
● Tactile sensing for collaborative robots
● Tactile sensing in physical human-robot interaction
● Innovative applications for tactile sensing

Tactile and multimodal sensing in Robotics
● Role of tactile sensing in robot applications
● Integration of multi-modal sensing (e.g., touch, vision, audio, etc)


Keywords: Tactile Sensing, Contact Modeling, Tactile Feedback, Tactile Data Processing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The sense of touch is fundamental for humans to perceive and react to dynamic phenomena in the real world. With the expansion of robotics into new application scenarios, the need to provide robots with this sensing modality is significantly increased, which has encouraged the response of the scientific community to study and develop technological solutions for the design of a wide range of tactile sensing solutions. The sense of touch entails important aspects (e.g., control, safety, perception, synergy with other sensing modalities) that go beyond the availability of a specific technology and can be exploited in new domains (human-robot interaction, workspace exploration, reactive behaviors, etc.).
This Research Topic wants to focus on new classes of robot manipulation and control problems, tasks, and applications featuring tactile feedback as the main sensing modality, and its role when intertwined with other sensing modalities.

In the future, robots will be expected to manipulate objects characterized by uncertain characteristics, such as mass, softness, friction, operating in poorly or non-structured environments where unplanned contacts may arise, or interacting with humans to physically collaborate when executing joint tasks. There is a gross imbalance in the techniques used to address these problems by relying on technologies like machine vision, but in all these conditions, tactile sensing is bound to play a key role to ensure safe operations either alone or in synergy with other sensing modalities. As possible examples, reactive tactile-based control algorithms can help deal with unexpected contacts, tactile-based gesture recognition can improve interactions with humans, whereas tactile sensing can provide information about mechanical characteristics of the objects the robot is in contact with, and improve recognition/classification in manipulation and exploration tasks.

This Research Topic is aimed at closing the gap and contributing to tactile sensing as a mature robot technology. In particular, the aims are:
● to highlight the potential of new tactile-based solutions to approach new robot applications
● to present new algorithms and new robot tasks whereby tactile sensing can be effective and unique
● to exploit the role of tactile sensing and perception in robot cognitive tasks, and finally
● to assess its role for the safety of robot operations

The scope of the Research Topic addresses, although it is not limited to, the following topics:

Tactile based data processing and robot control
● Tactile-based robot control
● Tactile-based data recognition and classification
● Tactile data representation, processing and interpretation
● Tactile sensing and contact modelling
● Learning for tactile data processing
● Software architectures for large-scale tactile data processing

Safety in tactile based robot systems
● Hardware and embedded networking
● Hardware for real-time data processing
● Robot control aspects

Tactile-based robot tasks and applications
● New classes of tactile-based robot tasks and behaviors
● Tactile sensing for collaborative robots
● Tactile sensing in physical human-robot interaction
● Innovative applications for tactile sensing

Tactile and multimodal sensing in Robotics
● Role of tactile sensing in robot applications
● Integration of multi-modal sensing (e.g., touch, vision, audio, etc)


Keywords: Tactile Sensing, Contact Modeling, Tactile Feedback, Tactile Data Processing


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

06 July 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

06 July 2020 Abstract
02 November 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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