Self organized behavior generation for musculoskeletal robots Journal Article

Author(s): Der, Ralf; Martius, Georg
Article Title: Self organized behavior generation for musculoskeletal robots
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: With the accelerated development of robot technologies, control becomes one of the central themes of research. In traditional approaches, the controller, by its internal functionality, finds appropriate actions on the basis of specific objectives for the task at hand. While very successful in many applications, self-organized control schemes seem to be favored in large complex systems with unknown dynamics or which are difficult to model. Reasons are the expected scalability, robustness, and resilience of self-organizing systems. The paper presents a self-learning neurocontroller based on extrinsic differential plasticity introduced recently, applying it to an anthropomorphic musculoskeletal robot arm with attached objects of unknown physical dynamics. The central finding of the paper is the following effect: by the mere feedback through the internal dynamics of the object, the robot is learning to relate each of the objects with a very specific sensorimotor pattern. Specifically, an attached pendulum pilots the arm into a circular motion, a half-filled bottle produces axis oriented shaking behavior, a wheel is getting rotated, and wiping patterns emerge automatically in a table-plus-brush setting. By these object-specific dynamical patterns, the robot may be said to recognize the object's identity, or in other words, it discovers dynamical affordances of objects. Furthermore, when including hand coordinates obtained from a camera, a dedicated hand-eye coordination self-organizes spontaneously. These phenomena are discussed from a specific dynamical system perspective. Central is the dedicated working regime at the border to instability with its potentially infinite reservoir of (limit cycle) attractors "waiting" to be excited. Besides converging toward one of these attractors, variate behavior is also arising from a self-induced attractor morphing driven by the learning rule. We claim that experimental investigations with this anthropomorphic, self-learning robot not only generate interesting and potentially useful behaviors, but may also help to better understand what subjective human muscle feelings are, how they can be rooted in sensorimotor patterns, and how these concepts may feed back on robotics.
Keywords: learning; Anthropomimetic; Musculoskeletal; Robot control; Self-exploration; Self-organization; Ten don-driven
Journal Title: Frontiers in Neurorobotics
Volume: 11
Issue MAR
ISSN: 16625218
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation  
Date Published: 2017-03-16
Start Page: Article number: 00008
Copyright Statement: CC BY
DOI: 10.3389/fnbot.2017.00008
Notes: We thank Alois Knoll for inviting us to work with the Myorobotic arm-shoulder system at the TUM. Special thanks go also to Rafael Hostettler for helping us with the robot and control framework. GM received funding from the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no. [291734].
Open access: yes (OA journal)
IST Austria Authors