SynTouch Awarded more than $2.5M in Federal Research Grants

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

LOS ANGELES, California, October 1, 2015 – SynTouch LLC, developer and manufacturer of the only sensor technology in the world that endows robots with the ability to replicate – and sometimes exceed – the human sense of touch, has been awarded two federal research grants totaling more than $2.5M over the next few years to develop Machine Touch® – advanced tactile sensing applications.

The first of these is a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research grant funded by The National Science Foundation to develop the world’s first robotic system that is capable of quantifying how surfaces feel in a way that relates to and even exceeds human tactile perception. This technology leverages SynTouch’s advanced BioTac sensor in addition to innovative machine intelligence that allows the system to explore and perceive surfaces similar to the way a human fingertip would.

“This is an important application to many consumer product developers whose customers make decisions on which products to buy based on how they feel,” says Jeremy Fishel, Director of Research at SynTouch. “Until now, there have been no machines to quantify this in a way that relates to human perception and SynTouch’s technology holds great promise.”

A second award, funded by the Department of Defense’s USAMRMC Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, seeks to develop intuitive grasping for prosthetic hands using SynTouch’s low-cost, foam-based NumaTac sensor. “Innovative applications of tactile sensing in prosthetic hands is something that has been close to SynTouch since the company’s founding,” says Fishel. “Over the years we’ve explored various approaches and have finally honed in on an application that can make a real impact for amputees.”

These two projects, one in tactile perception and the other in tactile dexterity, provide an outstanding demonstration of the range of capabilities SynTouch’s technology, which offers powerful solutions to important problems.

“This convergence of neuroscience and technology allows touch to join the other key senses of sight and sound whereby both people and machines can understand the world around them,” points out Gerald Loeb, CEO at SynTouch. “These grants reflect the wide range of capabilities that this will enable.”

About SynTouch
SynTouch LLC developed and makes the only sensor technology in the world that endows robots with the ability to replicate – and sometimes exceed – the human sense of touch. Its lead product – the BioTac – mimics the physical properties and sensory capabilities of the human fingertip. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Los Angeles, SynTouch provides Machine Touch® – complete tactile sensing solutions for industrial, medical and military applications:

About The National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. NSF’s SBIR program provides non-dilutive funds for early-stage research and development at small businesses, which accounts for 3% of NSF’s annual budget of $7.3 billion. Learn more at:

About The Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs
The office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) manages Congressional Special Interest Medical Research Programs (CSI) encompassing breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, neurofibromatosis, military health, and other specified areas. Since fiscal year 1992, the CDMRP has managed approximately over $7.7 billion in Congressional appropriations for peer-reviewed research aimed to prevent, control, and cure disease. Learn more at:


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