Spatiooral Encoding Improves Neuromorphic Tactile Texture Classification

Anupam Kumar Gupta, Andrei Nakagawa-Silva, Nathan F. Lepora, Nitish V. Thakor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increase in interest in the deployment of robots in unstructured environments to work alongside humans, the development of human-like sense of touch for robots becomes important. In this work, we implement a multi-channel neuromorphic tactile system that encodes contact episodes as discrete spike events that mimic the behavior of slow adapting mechanoreceptors. We study the impact of information pooling across artificial mechanoreceptors on classification performance of spatially non-uniform naturalistic textures. We encoded the spatiooral activation patterns of mechanoreceptors through gray-level co-occurrence matrix computed from time-varying mean spiking rate-based tactile response volume. We found that this approach greatly improved texture classification in comparison to the use of individual mechanoreceptor response alone. In addition, the performance was also more robust to changes in sliding velocity. The importance of exploiting precise spatial and temporal correlations between sensory channels is evident from the fact that on either removal of precise temporal information or altering of spatial structure of response pattern, a significant performance drop was observed. This study thus demonstrates the superiority of population coding approaches that can exploit the precise spatiooral information encoded in activation patterns of mechanoreceptor populations. It, therefore, makes an advance in the direction of development of bio-inspired tactile systems required for realistic touch applications in robotics and prostheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9448230
Pages (from-to)19038-19046
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Neuromorphic
  • gray-level co-occurrence matrix
  • spatiooral
  • tactile sensing
  • texture recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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