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James Law, Kevin Earland, Patricia Shaw, and Mark Lee (Submitted)

Robotic modelling of infant reach development

In: IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EpiRob 2013).

Infant reaching emerges as a series of behaviours, each with its own observable qualities. Reaching activity begins in the fetal stage, is directed towards visual targets at birth, but does not incorporate visual feedback until around 4 months after birth. Behaviours do not appear at strict intervals, but vary between infants, and transitions are smooth, with long periods where multiple reaching actions may be observed. Neural development suggests reaching is driven by different structures as the brain matures, and this may account for these slow changeovers. We present a series of algorithms, designed for a humanoid robot, which model these stages in infant reaching behviour. These algorithms have been implemented and from the results we show snapshots of the development at each phase.