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  1. State-of-the-art tactile sensing arrays are not scalable to large numbers of sensing units due to their raster-scanned process. This interface process results in a high degree of wiring complexity and a tradeoff between spatial and temporal resolution. In this paper, we present a new neuromimetic tactile sensing scheme that allows for single-wire signal transduction and asynchronous signal transmission - without the incorporation of electronics into each sensing element. A prototype device with spatial frequency encoding was developed using flexible fabric-based e-textile materials, and the ability of this new sensing scheme was demonstrated through a texture discrimination task. Overall, the neuromimetic spatial frequency encoded sensor array had comparable performance to the state-of-the-art tactile sensor array and achieved a classification accuracy of 86.58%. Future tactile sensing systems and electronic skins can emulate the spatial frequency encoding architecture presented here to become dense and numerous while retaining excellent temporal resolution. 
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    The compliant nature of soft fingers allows for safe and dexterous manipulation of objects by humans in an unstructured environment. A soft prosthetic finger design with tactile sensing capabilities for texture discrimination and subsequent sensory stimulation has the potential to create a more natural experience for an amputee. In this work, a pneumatically actuated soft biomimetic finger is integrated with a textile neuromorphic tactile sensor array for a texture discrimination task. The tactile sensor outputs were converted into neuromorphic spike trains, which emulate the firing pattern of biological mechanoreceptors. Spike-based features from each taxel compressed the information and were then used as inputs for the support vector machine classifier to differentiate the textures. Our soft biomimetic finger with neuromorphic encoding was able to achieve an average overall classification accuracy of 99.57% over 16 independent parameters when tested on 13 standardized textured surfaces. The 16 parameters were the combination of 4 angles of flexion of the soft finger and 4 speeds of palpation. To aid in the perception of more natural objects and their manipulation, subjects were provided with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to convey a subset of four textures with varied textural information. Three able-bodied subjects successfully distinguished two or three textures with the applied stimuli. This work paves the way for a more human-like prosthesis through a soft biomimetic finger with texture discrimination capabilities using neuromorphic techniques that provide sensory feedback; furthermore, texture feedback has the potential to enhance user experience when interacting with their surroundings. 
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    Soft robotic fingers provide enhanced flexibility and dexterity when interacting with the environment. The capability of soft fingers can be further improved by integrating them with tactile sensors to discriminate various textured surfaces. In this work, a flexible 3x3 fabric-based tactile sensor array was integrated with a soft, biomimetic finger for a texture discrimination task. The finger palpated seven different textured plates and the corresponding tactile response was converted into neuromorphic spiking patterns, mimicking the firing pattern of mechanoreceptors in the skin. Spike-based feature metrics were used to classify different textures using the support vector machine (SVM) classifier. The sensor was able to achieve an accuracy of 99.21% when two features, mean spike rate and average inter-spike interval, from each taxel were used as inputs into the classifier. The experiment showed that an inexpensive, soft, biomimetic finger combined with the flexible tactile sensor array can potentially help users perceive their environment better. 
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