Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 8 (NIPS 1995)
Infants' manipulative exploratory behavior within the environment is a vehicle of cognitive stimulation[McCall 1974]. During this time, infants practice and perfect sensorimotor patterns that become be(cid:173) havioral modules which will be seriated and imbedded in more com(cid:173) plex actions. This paper explores the development of such primitive learning systems using an embodied light-weight hand which will be used for a humanoid being developed at the MIT Artificial In(cid:173) telligence Laboratory[Brooks and Stein 1993]. Primitive grasping procedures are learned from sensory inputs using a connectionist reinforcement algorithm while two submodules preprocess sensory data to recognize the hardness of objects and detect shear using competitive learning and back-propagation algorithm strategies, respectively. This system is not only consistent and quick dur(cid:173) ing the initial learning stage, but also adaptable to new situations after training is completed.