This paper describes a developmental approach to the design of a humanoid robot. The robot, equipped with initial perceptual and motor competencies, explores the "shape" of its own body before devoting its attention to the external environment. The initial form of sensorimotor coordination consists of a set of explorative motor behaviors coupled to visual routines providing a bottom-up sensory-driven attention system. Subsequently, development leads the robot from the construction of a "body schema" to the exploration of the world of objects. The "body schema" allows controlling the arm and hand to reach and touch objects within the robot's workspace. Eventually, the interaction between the environment and the robot's body is exploited to acquire a visual model of the objects the robot encounters which can then be used to guide a top-down attention system. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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