Seminar: Robots with sense of Touch – Towards Embodied Intelligence, Professor Perla Maiolino, University of Oxford

  • Date:
  • Time: 14.00 - 15.00
  • Location: Mechanical Engineering Lecture Theatre B


Robots operating in dynamic and unstructured environments must exhibit advanced forms of interaction with objects and humans. “Sense of Touch”  in robots can play a fundamental role in enhancing perceptual, cognitive and operative capabilities of robots, specifically when they physically interact with objects and humans in the environment.

Many solutions to design, engineer and manufacture tactile sensors have been presented for both rigid and soft robots, because the availability of appropriate sensing technologies is the first and necessary step, but the effective utilization of “sense of touch” in robots depends also on the understanding of the tactile perception mechanism and in particular how the interaction between the body and the environment filters the tactile information to simplify the following inference process.  The seminar will present technological and research challenges for providing robots (rigid and soft) with sense of touch.


Prof Maiolino received her Ph.D. in Robotics, her MEng in Robotics and Automation and BEng in Software Engineering from University of Genova (Italy). She joined the Mechatronic and Control Laboratory (MACLAB) at the Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and System Engineering (DIBRIS) University of Genova where, as PhD student and then as research fellow, she carried out research about new technological solutions for the development and integration of distributed tactile sensors for providing robots with the “sense of touch”. The artificial skin technology (CySkin) which has been objective of her research, has been integrated in several robotics platforms and is part of the blockbuster exhibition “Robots” which has been shown at Science Museum of London in 2017.

Before joining Oxford Robotics Institute in 2018, she worked as Postdoctoral researcher at Biologically inspired Robotics Lab (BIRL) at University of Cambridge where she started to be interested in soft robotics pursuing research in soft robots sensing and perception. Currently she is Associate Professor at the Engineering Science Department and a member of Oxford Robotic Institute at University of Oxford where she is establishing the ORI Soft Robotics lab.

Her research interests and future research objectives are related to the development of new technological solutions for Soft Robots sensors and actuators and to investigate the role of “softness” in Soft Robots perception for achieving autonomy and intelligent behaviours.