The Active Touch Laboratory uses methods in animal behaviour, neuroethology, human psychophysics, computational modelling and robotics to investigate tactile sensing in animals, people and intelligent machines. Current research is primarily focused on understanding, and building robot analogs of, the mammalian vibrissal (whisker) system. A key feature of this system is the active control of the positioning and movement of the sensors. We therefore use high-speed videography to study the head and whisker movement strategies that animals such as rats and mice use when exploring environments with their vibrissae. Our computational neuroscience research addresses the neural bases of tactile sensory processing and motor control in the mammalian brain. Robotic modelling work includes investigation of algorithms for motor pattern generation and tactile pattern classfication. Research on human psychophysics has begun examining the use of the long cane by people with visual impairments.

Sheffield Robotics People:
Tony Prescott
Paul Dean
John Porrill
Jim Stone
Kevin Gurney
Ben Mitchinson
Stuart Wilson
Nathan Lepora
Uriel Martinez