Learning basic motion skills through modeling them as parameterized modules (learned by demonstration and babbling), and a nice state of the art of the development of motion skills

René Felix Reinhart, Autonomous exploration of motor skills by skill babbling, Auton Robot (2017) 41:1521–1537, DOI: 10.1007/s10514-016-9613-x.

Autonomous exploration of motor skills is a key capability of learning robotic systems. Learning motor skills can be formulated as inverse modeling problem, which targets at finding an inverse model that maps desired outcomes in some task space, e.g., via points of a motion, to appropriate actions, e.g., motion control policy parameters. In this paper, autonomous exploration of motor skills is achieved by incrementally learning inverse models starting from an initial demonstration. The algorithm is referred to as skill babbling, features sample-efficient learning, and scales to high-dimensional action spaces. Skill babbling extends ideas of goal-directed exploration, which organizes exploration in the space of goals. The proposed approach provides a modular framework for autonomous skill exploration by separating the learning of the inverse model from the exploration mechanism and a model of achievable targets, i.e. the workspace. The effectiveness of skill babbling is demonstrated for a range of motor tasks comprising the autonomous bootstrapping of inverse kinematics and parameterized motion primitives.

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