Haptic Feedback with a Reservoir Computing-Based Recurrent Neural Network for Multiple Terrain Classification of a Walking Robot

  • Pongsiri Borijindakul
  • Noparit Jinuntuya
  • Poramate ManoonpongEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11743)


Terrain classification is an important feature for walking robots because it allows the robots to stably move and operate on the terrain. Different terrain classification techniques have been developed. The techniques include the use of different exteroceptive and proprioceptive sensors with different classification methods. Whereas these techniques have been widely used to classify flat, hard, and rough terrains, their application to soft terrains has not been fully addressed. Achieving soft-terrain classification will expand the operational range of walking robots. Thus, in this study, we propose a new technique to classify various terrains including soft ones. The technique exploits haptic feedback (expressed only through ground contact force measurement of a legged robot) and neurodynamics with the temporal memory of a reservoir computing-based recurrent neural network. We used six different terrains to evaluate the performance of the proposed technique. The terrains include sand (loose ground), foams with different softness levels (soft ground), and floor (hard ground). The experimental results show that we can successfully classify all terrains with an accuracy of above 70%. Furthermore, owing to the temporal memory of the network, if the haptic feedback is transiently missing, the network will be still be able to classify the terrain considerably well.


Terrain classification Soft terrains Haptic feedback Neural networks Walking machines 



This work was supported by the Capacity Building on Academic Competency of KU Students from Kasetsart University, Thailand, the Thousand Talents program of China, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51861135306).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pongsiri Borijindakul
    • 1
  • Noparit Jinuntuya
    • 2
  • Poramate Manoonpong
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Bio-inspired Structure and Surface Engineering, College of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of Physics, Faculty of ScienceKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.CBR Embodied AI and Neurorobotics Lab, The MærskMc-Kinney Møller InstituteUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

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