Nano-resolved multi-scale investigations of human tactile sensations and tissue engineered nanobiosensors


BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Jan 2010 to Dec 2013

Funding Institutions: 

European Commission, under the 7th Framework Programme (grant agreement no. 228844)

Dedicated website: 

The main scientific aims of the NANOBIOTOUCH project are to radically improve understanding of the human mechanotransduction system and tissue engineered nanobiosensors. This will be achieved through systematic integration of new developments from converging scientific areas by involving academic and industrial participants who are experts in cognitive sciences, microneurography, brain imaging, cell biology and mechanics, tissue engineering, skin physics (tribology and mechanics), microengineering, multi-scale multi-physics modelling, information processing, robotics, prosthetics and medical rehabilitation.
The project builds on existing discriminative touch research in order to understand affective touch mediated by the human fingerpad. Sensors capable of detecting directional force and temperature will be developed since a combination of these modalities is critical to the affective component of the neurophysiological response evoked in taction. This next generation of sensors will include NEMS arrays and hybrid bio-NEMS systems. They will be integrated into a robotic finger with articulation controlled by neural network information processing that will allow artificial exploration of a surface to be achieved in ways that mimic human haptic behaviour and affective response.

What we do: 

Main tasks attributed to Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna are:
1. development of an exploratory biorobotic finger;
2. integration of the NEMS tactile array and of the machine learning algorithms in the dynamic platform;
3. integration of NEMS tactile array and of the machine learning algorithms in the biorobotic finger;
4. Integration of the bio-hybrid tactile sensor and of the machine learning algorithms in the Dynamic Platform.



ISI journals:
C.M. Oddo, L. Beccai, J. Wessberg, H. Backlund Wasling, F. Mattioli, M.C. Carrozza. “Roughness encoding in human and biomimetic artificial touch: spatiotemporal frequency modulation and structural anisotropy of fingerprints,” Sensors, 2011, 11(6), pp. 5596-5615.
C.M. Oddo, M. Controzzi, L. Beccai, C. Cipriani, M.C. Carrozza. “Roughness Encoding for Discrimination of Surfaces in Artificial Active Touch,” IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 2011, 27(3), pp. 522-533.
C.M. Oddo, L. Beccai, N. Vitiello, H. Backlund Wasling, J. Wessberg, M.C. Carrozza. “A Mechatronic Platform for Human Touch Studies,” Mechatronics, 2011, 21, pp. 604-613.
● E. Buselli, A.M. Smith, L.M. Grover, A. Levi, R. Allman, V. Mattoli, A. Menciassi, L. Beccai. “Development and characterization of a stretchable electrode on soft polymer for mammalian cell monitoring and stimulation,” Microelectronic Engineering, 2011, 88(8), pp. 1676-1680.
Conferences and workshops:
G. Spigler, C.M. Oddo, M.C. Carrozza. Soft-neuromorphic artificial touch for applications in neuro-robotics. IEEE 2012 International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics.
D. Cheneler, E. Buselli, C.M. Oddo, G. Kaklamani, L. Beccai, M.C. Carrozza, L.M. Grover, C.J. Anthony, M.C.L. Ward, M.J. Adams. Bio-hybrid tactile sensor and experimental set-up for investigating and mimicking the human sense of touch. In the “Advances in tactile sensing and touch based human-robot interaction” workshop at the IEEE HRI 2012 conference.
M. D’Alonzo, N. Vitiello, L. Beccai, H.F. Kwok, C.M. Oddo, A.M. Wing, M.C. Carrozza. Physical properties that contribute to roughness discrimination of textures with randomly distributed asperities In the “Advances in tactile sensing and touch based human-robot interaction” workshop at the IEEE HRI 2012 conference.
M. D’Alonzo, C. Cipriani, M.C. Carrozza, “Vibrotactile Sensory Substitution in Multi-fingered Hand Prostheses: Evaluation Studies,” In Proc. of IEEE RAS/EMBS Intl. Conf. on Rehabilitation Robotics, ICORR, Zurich, Switzerland, Jun. 29 - July 1, 2011.

Meet the team