ICRA 2021 ViTac workshop

ViTac 2021: Trends and Challenges in Visuo-Tactile Perception

Held online via Zoom
4 June 2021

Detailed program available here.

Accepted papers available here.

The workshop will take place online (live) via Zoom.

To participate in the workshop, please register here for the Zoom meeting.

Participation will be free of charge, and all are welcome!

Congratulations to Stephen J. Redmond, Benjamin Xia, and Heba Khamis: Real-time Friction Estimation for Grip Force Control for winning the Best Poster Award!

This is the 3rd time for us to organise the ViTac workshop in the ICRA conferences and will be a milestone after two consecutive ViTac workshops. This workshop aims to put the visuo-tactile perception under the spotlight by investigating the current trends and providing guidance towards possible future directions in the field. Humans couple vision and touch tightly in daily tasks like grasping and manipulation. Similarly, multimodal perception also plays a key role for robots to execute tasks in unstructured environments. In recent decades, there has been much advancement in integrating vision and tactile sensing for robots, both in hardware and software.  In the ICRA 2019 ViTac workshop, we highlighted the recent development of optical tactile sensors by integrating visual cameras in tactile sensors for multimodal and cross-modal perception. In the ICRA 2020 ViTac workshop, we drew attention to how vision and tactile sensing together contribute to closing the perception-action loop. This proposed full-day workshop will encompass recent progress in the area of visuo-tactile perception, particularly the trends both in the hardware and algorithms. It will further enhance active collaboration and address challenges for this important topic and applications.


The workshop will be divided into three themes: development of touch sensors (hardware focussed); multimodal robot perception with vision and tactile sensing; and inspirations from how humans integrate visual and haptic information for robot tasks.

Topics of Interest

●      Development of tactile sensors for robot tasks

●      Combining visual and tactile sensing for robot perception and action

●       Deep learning for visuo-tactile perception

●      Integrating tactile sensing and vision for robot tasks, e.g., manipulation and grasping, object recognition, localization, exploration, planning, learning and action selection

●      The control and design of robotic visuo-tactile systems for human-robot interaction

●      Cognitive control of movement and sensory-motor representations with vision and touch

●      Bio-inspired approaches and cognitive architectures for the visuo-tactile perception

●      Psychophysics and neuroscience of combining vision and tactile sensing in humans and animals

●      Computational methods for processing vision and touch data in robot learning

Invited Speakers

  • Roberta L. Klatzky (CMU) – Her research investigates perception, spatial thinking and action from the perspective of multiple modalities (particularly touch and vision), sensory and symbolic, in real and virtual environments. Her seminal article “Haptic perception: A tutorial” has inspired numerous researchers both in psychology and robotics.
  • Aude Billard (EPFL) – World-renowned expert in the control and design of robotic systems meant to interact with humans, with the assistance of multimodal sensing of vision and touch sensing.
  • Edward Adelson (MIT) – World-renowned neuroscientist in vision science and is also well known for his development of the GelSight optical touch sensor.
  • Lorenzo Jamone (Queen Mary University of London) – An expert in dexterous manipulation, particularly on object affordances, visuo-haptic perception and exploration.
  • Matei Ciocarlie (Columbia University) – An expert in grasping and manipulation, with the assistance of both vision and tactile sensing.
  • Harold Soh (National University of Singapore) – Recognised for his pioneering works in spiking (visual-)haptic perception and spatio-temporal haptic perception on the iCub robot.
  • Roberto Calandra (Facebook) – An expert in machine learning and reinforcement learning, with applications in tactile sensing and dynamics modeling.
  • Qiang Li (Bielefeld University) – An expert for the works on tactile-servoing based manipulation.       

Key Dates

Posters and live demonstrations will be selected from call for extended abstracts, reviewed by the organisers. The best posters will be invited to talk at the workshop. All submissions will be reviewed using a single-blind review process. Accepted contributions will be presented during the workshop as spotlight talks. Expected contributions should be submitted in the form of extended abstracts (max 2 pages) in IEEE Conference paper format. Submissions should be in PDF format (<5MB), following the IEEE conference style (two-columns).

(Submissions are now closed)

  • Submission Deadline: 1st May, 2021
  • Notification of acceptance: 15th May, 2021
  • Workshop day: Friday 4th June 2021 Starting time: 09:00 (GMT+00)


Shan Luo (University of Liverpool)

Nathan Lepora (Univ Bristol & Bristol Robotics Lab)

Wenzhen Yuan (Carnegie Mellon University)

Kaspar Althoefer (Queen Mary University of London)

Gordon Cheng (Technische Universität München)

We are grateful for the support of the following organisations