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James Law, Patricia Shaw, Mark Lee, and Michael Sheldon (Submitted)

From Saccades to Play: A model of Coordinated Reaching through Simulated Development on a Humanoid Robot

Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development.

Infants demonstrate remarkable talents in learning to control their sensor and motor systems. In particular the ability to reach to objects using visual feedback requires overcoming several issues related to coordination, spatial transformations, redundancy, and complex learning spaces, that are also challenges for robotics. In this paper we describe a model of the development of reaching that covers the full sequence from blind motor babbling to successful grasping of seen objects. This includes the learning of saccade control, gaze control, torso control, and visually elicited reaching and grasping in 3D space. The model is based on infant behaviour and we describe this approach as a method for producing adaptive learning algorithms for robots. The results from our implementation on an iCub robot show successful reaching and manipulation behaviours being produced from a start point with zero coordination in less than 5 hours.