Early Touch: From Neural Coding to Haptic Space Geometry

CNS*2013 Paris Workshop, July 17

Date: July 17, 2013

Location: Université Paris Descartes, 45 rue des Saints-Pères, Paris 5. Click here for more details.

Conference: Computational Neuroscience Meeting, Paris

Organizers: Jonathan Platkiewicz and Vincent Hayward (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France)


Research has produced many results regarding the perceptual capabilities of touch, and indi­cations regarding its underlying mechanisms, but the computational nature of haptic (active touch) perception has been considered only recently. Inspired by research programs con­ducted in computational vision, the workshop will focused on questions related to “early touch”, which can be defined in a broad sense as ‘inverse contact mechanics”. In classical contact mechanics, the problem is to determine the mechanical deformation of objects in contact. In touch, the nervous system is confronted with the inverse problem of recovering object attributes from the mechanical deformation induced by the object. Experts of differ­ent backgrounds (neurophysiology, psychophysics, biomechanics, robotics, mathematics) will discuss problems such as the computational functions of skin mechanics and afferent neurons organization, the neural basis of texture perception, the notion of tactile saliency maps, and motor-sensory contingencies in haptic exploration.

The complete program can be found here and the abstract and references of the talks there.


  • Ehud Ahissar (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel).
  • Angelo Arleo (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France).  
  • Sliman Bensmaia (University of Chicago, USA).
  • Vincent Hayward (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France).
  • Jan Koenderink (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium).
  • Masashi Nakatani (Columbia University Medical Center, USA / Keio University, Japan).
  • Tony Prescott (University of Sheffield, UK).
  • Elie Wandersman (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France)
  • Junji Watanabe (NTT Communication Science Laboratories / Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan).