Modeling a Robot’s Peripersonal Space and Body Schema for Adaptive Learning and Imitation (MoReSpace)

In the MoReSpace project, we will investigate the extent to which the transfer of learning is responsible for the development of a “self”, and hypothesize that a conflict-driven attention model plays a major role. In the first part of our project, we investigate the transfer of previously learned action-effect associations to new, unexpected environmental dynamics. Here, we put a strong focus on cognitive plausibility and motivate our model with psychological phenomena such as “haptic neglect”. The phenomenon occurs, for example, when the computer mouse is inverted and the mouse pointer is directed in the opposite direction in each case. In such scenarios, psychologists have found reduced perception of the haptic and proprioceptive senses. Our hypothesis is that this is due to a conflict-driven attention mechanism that improves the ability to deal with such dynamics. We will evaluate our model on a physical robot, and we will theoretically substantiate it with our collaboration partners from psychology. In the second part of the project, we will focus on imitation learning. Our hypothesis is that the attention model captures some psychological properties that are important for the human ability to change perspective and to imitate. We hypothesize that this will lead to novel methods of imitation learning for robots. We expect these methods to lead to significant improvements in the learning performance. We will evaluate this empirically and reproducibly.

Dr. Manfred Eppe, Prof. Dr. Stefan Wermter