Staged Development of Robot Skills: Behavior Formation, Affordance Learning and Imitation with Motionese

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Ugur E., Nagai Y., Şahin E., Öztop E.

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AUTONOMOUS MENTAL DEVELOPMENT, vol.7, pp.119-139, 2015 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/tamd.2015.2426192
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.119-139
  • Keywords: Affordance, developmental robotics, goal emulation, imitation, motionese, sensorimotor learning, OBJECT AFFORDANCES, INFANTS IMITATION, SHAPE, COORDINATION, EXPERIENCE, EMULATION, KNOWLEDGE, MODELS


Inspired by infant development, we propose a three staged developmental framework for an anthropomorphic robot manipulator. In the first stage, the robot is initialized with a basic reach-and-enclose-on-contact movement capability, and discovers a set of behavior primitives by exploring its movement parameter space. In the next stage, the robot exercises the discovered behaviors on different objects, and learns the caused effects; effectively building a library of affordances and associated predictors. Finally, in the third stage, the learned structures and predictors are used to bootstrap complex imitation and action learning with the help of a cooperative tutor. The main contribution of this paper is the realization of an integrated developmental system where the structures emerging from the sensorimotor experience of an interacting real robot are used as the sole building blocks of the subsequent stages that generate increasingly more complex cognitive capabilities. The proposed framework includes a number of common features with infant sensorimotor development. Furthermore, the findings obtained from the self-exploration and motionese guided human-robot interaction experiments allow us to reason about the underlying mechanisms of simple-to-complex sensorimotor skill progression in human infants.