Human-Inspired Neurorobotic System for Classifying Surface Textures by Touch

Robotics and Automation Letters, 2016

Ken Elmar Friedl, Aaron R. Voelker, Angelika Peer, Chris Eliasmith

Abstract

Giving robots the ability to classify surface textures requires appropriate sensors and algorithms. Inspired by the biology of human tactile perception, we implement a neurorobotic texture classifier with a recurrent spiking neural network, using a novel semi-supervised approach for classifying dynamic stimuli. Input to the network is supplied by accelerometers mounted on a robotic arm. The sensor data is encoded by a heterogeneous population of neurons, modeled to match the spiking activity of mechanoreceptor cells. This activity is convolved by a hidden layer using bandpass filters to extract nonlinear frequency information from the spike trains. The resulting high-dimensional feature representation is then continuously classified using a neurally implemented support vector machine. We demonstrate that our system classifies 18 metal surface textures scanned in two opposite directions at a constant velocity. We also demonstrate that our approach significantly improves upon a baseline model that does not use the described feature extraction. This method can be performed in real-time using neuromorphic hardware, and can be extended to other applications that process dynamic stimuli online.

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Publisher
IEEE
Doi
10.1109/LRA.2016.2517213
Journal
Robotics and Automation Letters
Issn
2377-3766
Number
1
Month
01
Volume
1
Pages
516-523

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