A theoretical concept of active sensing

The term “active sensing” has been defined in multiple ways. The present work offers a framework to help disambiguate aspects of the “active sensing” terminology and reveals properties of tactile sensing unique among all modalities. The framework begins with the well-described “sensorimotor loop,” which expresses the perceptual process as a cycle involving four subsystems: environment, sensor, nervous system, and actuator. Using system dynamics, we examine how information flows through the loop. This “sensory-energetic loop” reveals two distinct sensing mechanisms that subdivide active sensing into homeoactive and alloactive sensing.