Nathan F. Lepora

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Texture perception is studied here in a physical model of the rat whisker system consisting of a robot equipped with a biomimetic vibrissal sensor. Investigations of whisker motion in rodents have led to several explanations for texture discrimination, such as resonance or stick-slips. Meanwhile, electrophysiological studies of decision-making in monkeys(More)
Loss of dopamine from the striatum can cause both profound motor deficits, as in Parkinson's disease, and disrupt learning. Yet the effect of dopamine on striatal neurons remains a complex and controversial topic, and is in need of a comprehensive framework. We extend a reduced model of the striatal medium spiny neuron (MSN) to account for dopaminergic(More)
In this work, we present an active tactile perception approach for contour following based on a probabilistic framework. Tactile data were collected using a biomimetic fingertip sensor. We propose a control architecture that implements a perception-action cycle for the exploratory procedure, which allows the fingertip to react to tactile contact whilst(More)
Classical conditioning of nictitating membrane (NM) responses in rabbits is a robust model learning system, and experimental evidence indicates that conditioned responses (CRs) are controlled by the cerebellum. It is unknown whether cerebellar control signals deal directly with the complex nonlinearities of the plant (blink-related muscles and peripheral(More)
Marr-Albus adaptive filter models of the cerebellum have been applied successfully to a range of sensory and motor control problems. Here we analyze their properties when applied to classical conditioning of the nictitating membrane response in rabbits. We consider a system-level model of eyeblink conditioning based on the anatomy of the eyeblink circuitry,(More)
Although superresolution has been studied to huge impact in visual imaging, it is relatively unexplored in tactile robotics. Here we demonstrate a novel optical sensor design (the TacTip) capable of achieving 40-fold localization superresolution to 0.1mm accuracy compared with a 4mm resolution between tactile elements. This superresolution is reached for(More)
Biomimetics is a research field that is achieving particular prominence through an explosion of new discoveries in biology and engineering. The field concerns novel technologies developed through the transfer of function from biological systems. To analyze the impact of this field within engineering and related sciences, we compiled an extensive database of(More)
Embodied Choice considers action performance as a proper part of the decision making process rather than merely as a means to report the decision. The central statement of embodied choice is the existence of bidirectional influences between action and decisions. This implies that for a decision expressed by an action, the action dynamics and its constraints(More)
Whiskered mammals such as rats are experts in tactile perception. By actively palpating surfaces with their whiskers, rats and mice are capable of acute texture discrimination and shape perception. We present a novel system for investigating whisker-object contacts repeatably and reliably. Using an XY positioning robot and a biomimetic artificial whisker we(More)