The soft deformation of the skin encodes the tactile perception of friction

Laurence Willemet and Michael Wiertlewski discovered how humans can perceive friction without sliding by perceiving subtle changes in the deformation of the skin. This sense of friction is fundamental to human’s ability to effortlessly grasp and manipulate objects.

The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), are inspiring new approaches to control soft robotic grippers using tactile sensing to assist grasping and manipulation.

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