Movement Segmentation and Recognition for Imitation Learning


Franziska Meier, Evangelos Theodorou, Stefan Schaal ;
Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Statistics, PMLR 22:761-769, 2012.


In human movement learning, it is most common to teach constituent elements of complex movements in isolation, before chaining them into complex movements. Segmentation and recognition of observed movement could thus proceed out of this existing knowledge, which is directly compatible with movement generation. In this paper, we address exactly this scenario. We assume that a library of movement primitives has already been taught, and we wish to identify elements of the library in a complex motor act, where the individual elements have been smoothed together, and, occasionally, there might be a movement segment that is not in our library yet. We employ a flexible machine learning representation of movement primitives based on learnable nonlinear attractor system. For the purpose of movement segmentation and recognition, it is possible to reformulate this representation as a controlled linear dynamical system. An Expectation-Maximization algorithm can be developed to estimate the open parameters of a movement primitive from the library, using as input an observed trajectory piece. If no matching primitive from the library can be found, a new primitive is created. This process allows a straightforward sequential segmentation of observed movement into known and new primitives, which are suitable for robot imitation learning. We illustrate our approach with synthetic examples and data collected from human movement.

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