Project Team Flowers

Overall Objectives
Scientific Foundations
Application Domains
New Results
Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Overall Objectives


Can a robot learn like a child? Can it learn new skills and new knowledge in an unknown and changing environment? How can it discover its body and its relationships with the physical and social environment? How can its cognitive capacities continuously develop without the intervention of an engineer? What can it learn through natural social interactions with humans?

These are the questions that are being investigated in the FLOWERS research team at INRIA Bordeaux Sud-Ouest. Rather than trying to imitate the intelligence of adult humans like in the field of Artificial Intelligence, we believe that trying to reconstruct the processes of development of the child's mind will allow for more adaptive, more robust and more versatile machines. This approach is called developmental robotics, or epigenetic robotics, and imports concepts and theories from developmental psychology. As most of these theories are not formalized, this implies a crucial computational modeling activity, which in return provides means to assess the internal coherence of theories and sketch new hypothesis about the development of the human child's sensorimotor and cognitive abilities.

Our team focuses in particular on the study of developmental constraints that allow for efficient open-ended learning of novel skills. In particular, we study constraints that guide exploration in large sensorimotor spaces:

We also study how these constraints on exploration can allow a robot to bootstrap multimodal perceptual abstractions associated to motor skills, in particular in the context of modelling language acquisition as a developmental process grounded in action.

Among the developmental principles that characterize human infants and can be used in developmental robots, FLOWERS focuses on the following three principles:

Research axis

The work of FLOWERS is organized around the following three axis: