Imperial College London

Professor Thrishantha Nanayakkara

Faculty of EngineeringDyson School of Design Engineering

Professor in Robotics



+44 (0)7902 396 681t.nanayakkara Website CV




RCS 1M07Dyson BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Director of Morph Lab

Thrishantha's research in controllable stiffness robots tries to understand how physical mechanisms in the body and environment contribute to solve computational problems to achieve accurate perception and stable action in dynamic environments.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Seminara L, Dosen S, Mastrogiovanni F, et al., 2023, A hierarchical sensorimotor control framework for human-in-the-loop robotic hands., Science Robotics, Vol:8, ISSN:2470-9476, Pages:1-8

He L, Maiolino P, Leong F, et al., 2023, Robotic simulators for tissue examination training with multimodal sensory feedback, Ieee Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, Vol:16, ISSN:1941-1189, Pages:514-529

He L, Herzig N, Nanayakkara T, et al., 2022, 3D-printed soft sensors for adaptive sensing with online and offline tunable-stiffness, Soft Robotics, Vol:9, ISSN:2169-5172, Pages:1062-1073

Zhang Qiu P, Yongxuan T, Thompson O, et al., 2022, Soft tissue characterisation using a novel robotic medical percussion device with acoustic analysis and neural networks, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:7, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:11314-11321

Lalitharatne TD, Costi L, Hasheem R, et al., 2022, Face mediated human–robot interaction for remote medical examination, Scientific Reports, Vol:12, ISSN:2045-2322

Yu Z, Perera S, Hauser H, et al., 2022, A tapered whisker-based physical reservoir computing system for mobile robot terrain identification in unstructured environments, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:7, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:3608-3615

Yu Z, Sadati SMH, Hauser H, et al., 2022, A Semi-Supervised Reservoir Computing System Based on Tapered Whisker for Mobile Robot Terrain Identification and Roughness Estimation, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:7, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:5655-5662

Ge Y, Nanayakkara T, Dulantha Lalitharatne T, 2022, Origami inspired design for capsule endoscope to retrograde using intestinal peristalsis, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:7, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:5429-5435

Tan Y, Rerolle S, Lalitharathne TD, et al., 2022, Simulating dynamic facial expressions of pain from visuo-haptic interactions with a robotic patient, Scientific Reports, Vol:12, ISSN:2045-2322

Carboni G, Nanayakkara T, Takagi A, et al., 2021, Adapting the visuo-haptic perception through muscle coactivation, Scientific Reports, Vol:11, ISSN:2045-2322

Costi L, Scimeca L, Maiolino P, et al., 2021, Comparative analysis of model-based predictive shared control for delayed operation in object reaching and recognition tasks with tactile sensing, Frontiers in Robotics and Ai, Vol:8, ISSN:2296-9144

He L, Herzig N, Lusignan SD, et al., 2021, An Abdominal phantom with tunable stiffness nodules and force sensing capability for palpation training, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol:37, ISSN:1552-3098, Pages:1051-1064

Lalitharatne SWH, Tan Y, He L, et al., 2021, MorphFace: a hybrid morphable face for a robopatient, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:6, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:643-650

Hamid E, Herzig N, Guaman SA-A, et al., 2021, A state-dependent damping method to reduce collision force and its variability, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:6, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:3025-3032

Tan X, Ahmed-Kristensen S, Cao J, et al., 2021, A soft pressure sensor skin to predict contact pressure limit under hand orthosis, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, Vol:29, ISSN:1534-4320, Pages:536-545

Sadati H, Naghib E, Shiva A, et al., 2021, TMTDyn: A Matlab package for modeling and control of hybrid rigid–continuum robots based on discretized lumped system and reduced-order models, International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol:40, ISSN:0278-3649, Pages:296-347

Lalitharatne SWH, Tan Y, Leong F, et al., 2020, Facial Expression Rendering in Medical Training Simulators: Current Status and Future Directions, Ieee Access, Vol:8, ISSN:2169-3536, Pages:215874-215891

Wegiriya H, Herzig N, Guaman SAA, et al., 2020, A stiffness controllable multimodal whisker sensor follicle for texture comparison, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol:20, ISSN:1530-437X, Pages:2320-2328

Herzig N, He L, Maiolino P, et al., 2020, Conditioned haptic perception for 3D localization of nodules in soft tissue palpation with a variable stiffness probe, PLOS One, Vol:15, ISSN:1932-6203

He L, Lu Q, Abad S-A, et al., 2020, Soft fingertips with tactile sensing and active deformation for robust grasping of delicate objects, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:5, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:2714-2721

Xinyang T, He L, Cao J, et al., 2020, A soft pressure sensor skin for hand and wrist orthoses, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:5, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:2192-2199

Sadati H, Shiva A, Herzig N, et al., 2020, Stiffness imaging with a continuum appendage: Real-time shape and tip force estimation from base load readings, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:5, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:2824-2831

Abad S-A, Herzig N, Sadati SMH, et al., 2019, Significance of the Compliance of the Joints on the Dynamic Slip Resistance of a Bioinspired Hoof, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol:35, ISSN:1552-3098, Pages:1450-1463

Akhond S, Herzig N, Wegiriya H, et al., 2019, A method to guide local physical adaptations in a robot based on phase portraits, Ieee Access, Vol:7, ISSN:2169-3536, Pages:1-13

Cotugno G, Konstantinova J, Althoefer K, et al., 2018, Modelling the structure of object-independent human affordances of approaching to grasp for robotic hands, PLOS One, Vol:13, ISSN:1932-6203

Ranasinghe A, Dasgupta P, Nagar A, et al., 2018, Human behavioral metrics of a predictive model emerging during robot assisted following without visual feedback, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:3, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:2624-2631

Herzig N, Maiolino P, Iida F, et al., 2018, A Variable Stiffness Robotic Probe for Soft Tissue Palpation, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:3, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:1168-1175

Sadati SMH, Naghibi SE, Walker ID, et al., 2017, Control Space Reduction and Real-Time Accurate Modeling of Continuum Manipulators Using Ritz and Ritz–Galerkin Methods, Ieee Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol:3, ISSN:2377-3766, Pages:328-335

Nanayakkara DPT, Konstantinova J, Cotugno G, et al., 2017, Palpation force modulation strategies to identify hard regions in soft tissue organs, PLOS One, Vol:12, ISSN:1932-6203

Sornkarn N, Nanayakkara T, 2016, Can a Soft Robotic Probe Use Stiffness Control Like a Human Finger to Improve Efficacy of Haptic Perception?, IEEE Transactions on Haptics, Vol:10, ISSN:1939-1412, Pages:183-195

Sornkarn N, Dasgupta P, Nanayakkara T, 2016, Morphological computation of haptic perception of a controllable stiffness probe, PLOS One, Vol:11, ISSN:1932-6203

Nanayakkara T, Jiang A, Del Rocío Armas Fernández M, et al., 2016, Stable grip control on soft objects with time-varying stiffness, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol:32, ISSN:1552-3098, Pages:626-637

Cotugno G, Althoefer K, Nanayakkara T, 2016, The Role of the Thumb: Study of Finger Motion in Grasping and Reachability Space in Human and Robotic Hands, Ieee Transactions on Systems Man Cybernetics-systems, Vol:47, ISSN:2168-2216, Pages:1061-1070

Ranasinghe A, Dasgupta P, Althoefer K, et al., 2015, Identification of Haptic Based Guiding Using Hard Reins, PLOS One, Vol:10, ISSN:1932-6203

Ranasinghe A, Sornkarn N, Dasgupta P, et al., 2015, Salient feature of haptic-ased guidance of people in low visibility environments using hard reins., Ieee Transactions on Cybernetics, Vol:46, ISSN:2168-2267, Pages:568-579

Konstantinova J, Li M, Mehra G, et al., 2014, Behavioral characteristics of manual palpation to localize hard nodules in soft tissues, IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Vol:61, ISSN:0018-9294, Pages:1651-1659


Abad S-A, Sornkarn N, Nanayakkara T, 2016, The role of morphological computation of the goat hoof in slip reduction, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), IEEE, Pages:5599-5605, ISSN:2153-0866

Sornkarn N, Nanayakkara T, 2016, The efficacy of interaction behavior and internal stiffness control for embodied information gain in haptic perception, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2016, IEEE, Pages:2657-2662, ISSN:1050-4729

Sadati SMH, Shiva A, Ataka A, et al., 2016, A geometry deformation model for compound continuum manipulators with external loading, 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Pages:4957-4962, ISSN:1050-4729

Nanayakkara T, Byl K, Liu H, et al., 2012, Dominant Sources of Variability in Passive Walking, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), IEEE, Pages:1003-1010, ISSN:1050-4729

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