GoToGoal - Experimental Investigation of Goal Babbling

16.09.2013 to 15.09.2016 (completed)

Our motor system is complex, redundant and non-linear. Yet, humans can learn to coordinate their muscles, joints and tendons to solve even completely novel motor tasks, and it is unknown how. At the University of Bielefeld, Prof. Jochen Steil and colleagues have developed a technique called „Goal Babbling“ that efficiently solves the problem of learning new sensorimotor mappings in robots: Starting from a single initial movement pattern, the robots systematically expand their motor repertoire by goal-oriented exploration. The GoToGoal project investigates whether also humans use Goal Babbling for motor skill learning. For this, Dr. Kenichi Narioka and Prof. Jochen Steil  (Cognitive Robotics) work together closely with Dr. Marieke Rohde and Prof. Marc Ernst (Cognitive Neuroscience). The neuroscientists develop behavioural experiments to study motor learning in humans, while the roboticists investigate in computer simulation how robots solve the task using Goal Babbling. The comparison of robotic and human behaviour will elucidate the mechanisms of motor skill learning in humans.