Reusing the tactile knowledge of some previously-explored objects (prior objects) helps us to easily recognize the tactual properties of new objects. In this paper, we enable a robotic arm equipped with multi-modal artificial skin, like humans, to actively transfer the prior tactile exploratory action experiences when it learns the detailed physical properties of new objects. These experiences, or prior tactile knowledge, are built by the feature observations that the robot perceives from multiple sensory modalities, when it applies the pressing, sliding, and static contact movements on objects with different action parameters. We call our method Active Prior Tactile Knowledge Transfer (APTKT), and systematically evaluated its performance by several experiments. Results show that the robot improved the discrimination accuracy by around
when it used only one training sample with the feature observations of prior objects. By further incorporating the predictions from the observation models of prior objects as auxiliary features, our method improved the discrimination accuracy by over
. The results also show that the proposed method is robust against transferring irrelevant prior tactile knowledge (negative knowledge transfer).
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