Nathan F. Lepora is an academic with cross-disciplinary interests in robotics and neuroscience. His main focus is on dexterous robots with a human-like sense of touch and manual intelligence, an area undergoing rapid and exciting progress.
He is a Professor of Robotics & AI at the University of Bristol, leading the Tactile Robotics Group in Bristol Robotics Laboratory with 15 researchers in robotics, AI and neuroscience. He holds a Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award on: ‘A Biomimetic Forebrain for Robot Touch’.
Nathan also writes children’s books on science and technology, most recently ‘Robots!’ in the acclaimed Findout! series by Dorling-Kindersley.
Tactile Robotics Group
Robot sensors, hands & systems with a sense of touch
The BRL Tactile Robotics group designs and builds novel dexterous tactile robots from 3D-printed fingertips/hands to entire integrated robot systems.
Our technology is based on the TacTip family of tactile fingertips:
Soft – Multi-material 3D-printed
Biomimetic – like the human sense of touch
Optical – based on using an inner tiny camera
Tactile – measures the intricacies of contact
Artificial Intelligence for robot dexterity
We develop artificial intelligence that enables our tactile robots to perceive, explore, manipulate and handle complex objects and environments.
Our group is at the forefront of applying deep learning to robot dexterity. Neural networks are revolutionizing computer and robot vision. We aim to transfer those advances to robot touch.
Neuroscience of human & animal perceptual & action
Our group’s work is also inspired by the neuroscience and psychology of perception and action. Human dexterity eclipses that of all other animals and is fundamental to human intelligence.
Our interests span from sensory processing and decision making to models of perception and action selection.