Skip to content

Addition of a biomimetic fingerprint on an artificial fingertip enhances tactile spatial acuity

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1336-1343
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number3
Early online date8 Feb 2017
StatePublished - Jul 2017


The fingerprint is a morphological aspect of the human fingertip that has interesting implications for our sense of touch. Previous studies focused on how the fingerprint affects the perception of stimuli that excite high temporal frequencies, such as for texture perception. These studies also only add papillary ridges to their sensors. Here, we endow a biomimetic sensor with both papillary ridges (fingerprint) and a dermal stiffness contrast (stiffer intermediate ridges), and assess the impact on localization perception accuracy. The sensor is based on a novel modular version of a three-dimensional printed tactile sensor (TacTip). Tactile data were collected with these tips on nine stimuli with varying curvature. The location perception acuity of three tips [smooth, fingerprint, and fingerprint (cores)] were compared with a probabilistic classification method, finding that both fingerprinted tips increase the perceptual acuity of small spatial scales. Interestingly, the fingerprint variant had poorer accuracy than the smooth tip for larger spatial scales; however, adding cores to enhance the dermal stiffness counteracted the degradation of accuracy. This supports the theories that the fingerprint aids the classification of edges and smaller spatial scales, and demonstrates that the addition of a fingerprint to an artificial tactile sensors improves its acuity.

    Research areas

  • Force and tactile sensing, siomimetics

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via IEEE at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 888 KB, PDF-document

    License: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups