Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

As robots learn to imitate

22.12.2004


Can robots learn to communicate by studying and imitating humans’ gestures? That’s what MIRROR’s researchers aimed to find out by studying how infants and monkeys learn complex acts such as grasping and transferring it to robots.



“Our main motivation for the project was to advance the understanding of how humans recognise and imitate gestures,” says Professor Giulio Sandini, coordinator of the three-year IST-funded project, MIRROR. “We did that by building an artificial system that can learn to communicate by means of body gestures.”

Researchers began by designing and conducting behavioural experiments with infants of different ages and with monkeys within the framework of the so-called ‘mirror neurons’. These neurons, first discovered in the brains of monkeys, have the unique property of being activated not only when monkeys or human infants perform specific grasping actions, but also when they see the same grasping action performed by someone else – for example, the mirror image of his or her own body. Mirror neurons behave as a motor resonant system activated both during goal-directed actions and the observation of similar actions performed by others.


During the first year of the project, researchers worked at improving humanoid robotic platforms and conducted experiments using a ‘cyber glove’. This set-up allowed researchers to collect visual and motor data that was used in investigating the relationship between vision and action in the recognition of hand gestures.

The second year’s experiments with monkeys and infants investigated how visual and motor information can be used to learn to discriminate grasping actions. They then used that information to show how, by detecting visual clues to the function of an object, a robot can mimic simple object-directed actions.

In the final year they concentrated on integrating the developed work into a humanoid robot, which consisted of a binocular head, an arm, and a multi-fingered hand. Although the integration is not fully complete, they believe they have uncovered many elements of a biologically-compatible architecture that can be replicated in robots.

”We now have better knowledge of how and when the ability to grasp objects appropriately appears in human babies,” says Professor Sandini. “From the robotics point of view, we demonstrated that it is easier to interpret actions performed by others if the system has built a representation of the action during learning. Learning precedes understanding. We implemented a complex behaviour on our robot based on this representation.”

Although the project is finished, all the members of the consortium now participate in a follow-up FP6 IST project called RobotCub that has, among other aspects, the scientific goal of continuing the MIRROR’s project work. RobotCub focuses on building a humanoid platform and studying the development of manipulation skills.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht World first: 'Storing lightning inside thunder'
18.09.2017 | University of Sydney

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>