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The sense of touch is a wonderful capability through which human beings communicate in ways that are simply unimaginable using sight or hearing. Through touch we explore the world, we socialize, we define our own self and separate it from whatever is not us. Due to the incredibly high number of touch receptors human beings are endowed with, the interpretation of touch signals is a fascinating research topic. Moreover, building machines with something comparable is a formidable challenge. Researchers are devising touch sensors which more and more resemble the capabilities of human touch, at least functionally; but how to exploit this extraordinary flow of information?

This workshop has the objective of shedding light on touch in a number of ways: how humans process and interpret tactile information; how they react and actively explore, based on touch; what they gather out of the experience of touching and being touched; how can we be inspired to build new robots and sensors and intelligence, in order to exploit touch. Concretely, the WS revolves around three “levels” of touch information processing: the syntax of touch, that is what kind of information is conveyed? How? What information goes beyond function, e.g., affective touch? The mid-level semantics of touch: touch-based object detection and recognition, intent detection, haptic exploration; and the high-level semantics of touch: what feelings does touch elicit, how, and how is this relevant to robotics and human-robotic interaction especially?

 

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