PhD defense: Jérémie PINOTEAU

2013-11-19 at 15:00

Institut of Vision, 13 rue Moreau 75012 Paris


TITLE Processing of fine touch information in closed loop neural architecture ABSTRACT
In recent years, roboticians have drawn their inspiration from biological systems,trying with increasing effort to reproduce their functions and structures in artificial systems. In particular, robotics and neuro-engineering have often merged into a unitary discipline that tries to reproduce basic principles of the nervous system with the goal of both making robots interact with the world in a human-like fashion, and exploiting artificial models as benchmarks for testing novel scientific hypotheses. Following these two objectives, the work presented here has been carried out to develop a closed-loop neural architecture for active sensing and fine touch discrimination. Neural coding principles observed at the periphery of the somatosensory pathway were reproduced by emulating the spiking dynamics of primary afferents and cuneate neurons. Second order neuron responses were supplied to a classifier which computed the probability estimates of the stimulus and devised a movement policy for the fingertip in a dynamic recognition task scenario. The closed-loop system was completed with a neuro-mimetic model of the cerebellum for the low-level control of the fingertip. In a real-world application, an artificial fingertip provided the inputs to the mechanoreceptor model. Testing the closed-loop architecture on a Braille reading task showed that both primary afferent and cuneate neuron populations efficiently and reliably transmitted enough information to perform a perfect discrimination. The presented neural architecture could contribute to the study of both the neural bases of fine touch in humans, and neuro-mimetic solutions for processing tactile signals in humanoid robots. Jury
1. Jeff Krichmar (reviewer), University of California Irvine, USA
2. Caloger Oddo (reviewer), Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa, Italy
3. Eduardo Ross (examiner), University of Granada, Spain
3. Moustapha Hafez (examiner), CEA, France
4. Didier Balzagette (examiner), DGA, France
5. Vincent Hayward (president), UPMC, France
6. Angelo Arleo (advisor), UPMC, France