1 The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, SDU2 University of Aberdeen3 The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, SDU
Infants extend their repertoire of behaviours from initially simple behaviours with single objects to complex behaviours dealing with spatial relationships among objects. We are interested in the mechanisms underlying this development in order to achieve similar development in artificial systems. One mechanism is sensorimotor differentiation, which allows one behaviour to become altered in order to achieve a different result; the old behaviour is not forgotten, so differentiation increases the number of available behaviours. Differentiation requires the learning of both sensory abstractions and motor programs for the new behaviour; here we focus only on the sensory aspect: learning to recognise situations in which the new behaviour succeeds. We experimented with learning these situations in a realistic physical simulation of a robotic manipulator interacting with various objects, where the sensor space includes the robot arm position data and a Kinect-based vision system. The mechanism for learning sensory abstractions for a new behaviour is a component in the larger enterprise of building systems which emulate the mechanisms of infant development.